Assemblywoman Gonzalez Bill to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse in Youth Organizations Sent to Governor’s Desk

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (September 1, 2021) – While many youth service organizations work hard to keep child predators out of their ranks, sexual abuse of children in these settings is still a widespread problem. Today, Assembly Bill 506 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to mandate background checks and child abuse prevention training for all staff and regular volunteers of youth organizations was sent to the Governor’s desk.
 
“We hear about stories of sexual abuse against children sometimes decades after they’ve happened,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “This commonsense measure will help root out abusers and better protect children in these settings by ensuring the staff and volunteers caring for children undergo background checks and are trained to catch incidents of abuse early on.”
 
The most notable example of widespread abuse in a youth organization occurred within the Boys Scouts of America, where a lawsuit alleged nearly 90,000 incidents of child abuse took place across more than four decades, leading the organization to declare bankruptcy in 2020. By mandating fingerprint-based background checks, AB 506 will ensure a more thorough screening process for staff and regular volunteers of youth organizations to flag known child abusers with criminal records before they ever have an opportunity to work with children.
 
AB 506
would also require youth organizations to implement a policy of having a minimum of two mandated reporters present when staff or volunteers are working directly with children, to the extent it’s feasible. Additionally, the bill requires youth organizations to have policies in place to ensure the reporting of suspected incidents of child abuse.
 
For questions on AB 506 or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov