Gonzalez Bill to Protect Children from Abuse Passes Assembly Public Safety Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, April 27, 2021) – Volunteers with youth service organizations often work closely with children, despite not receiving abuse prevention training or being required to report suspected abuse to the authorities. Today, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 506 to mandate youth service organizations implement child abuse prevention measures and require regular volunteers to be mandatory reporters of child abuse was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a 7 to 0 vote. 

“We've heard horrific stories of abuses against children that went unreported for decades,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “As parents, we should have peace of mind that any adult responsible for providing our children a safe environment is qualified and trained to catch incidents of abuse early on."

AB 506 would require youth service organizations to do background screenings of employees and volunteers, as well as make all volunteers who are over the age of 18 who have direct contact with children mandated reporters of child abuse if they volunteer more than 16 hours per month or 32 hours per year. Youth service organization volunteers, employees and administrators would be required to take an online mandated reporter training. AB 506 also requires youth service organizations to develop and implement child abuse prevention policies, including protocols for reporting suspected incidents.

In one of the most notable examples in recent years, a lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts of America in 2020 alleged nearly 90,000 incidents of child abuse took place across more than four decades, but were often not reported to the police.

“As we saw with the terrible decades-long abuses of tens of thousands of children in the Boy Scouts organization and its refusal to report crucial information to authorities, the failure of youth organizations to implement baseline child abuse prevention measures can have tragic consequences,” said California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Assembly Bill 506 will protect children and prevent massive insurance liability by requiring background checks and mandated reporter training for youth volunteers. The pandemic has made youth organizations even more of a necessity for families, so we must do all we can to ensure they are safe places for our children." 

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov