[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 1-22-1985 by L.L. No. 1-1985. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of certain local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
[Amended 8-15-1989 by L.L. No. 31-1989]
This Legislature hereby finds that the County of Suffolk partially funds contracts with agencies in the County providing day-care services and home-care services to Suffolk County residents.
This Legislature further finds that recent investigations in private schools in the State of California and the State of Minnesota, together with publicly funded day-care centers in the City of New York and surrounding communities, have uncovered widespread incidents of sexual abuse of young children enrolled in such facilities and receiving day-care services. This Legislature further finds that there have been incidents of abuse to persons at home receiving home-care services in surrounding communities.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of minors enrolled in municipally funded day-care centers and persons at home receiving home-care services by tightening the procedures for recruiting personnel.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person, corporation or other entity under contract with the County of Suffolk to provide child day-care services or home-care services.
- Care for children of preschool age and primary school age in a group facility, family home or day-care project, defined in Subdivision 9 of § 410-e of the New York Social Services Law, or provision of residential child care for children of preschool age and primary school age. "Day care" shall not be construed to include foster care services or institutional placements.
- The Suffolk County Department of Social Services.
- MEMBER OF HOUSEHOLD
- Any permanent resident of the home over the age of 16.
- Any day-care employees and family day-care proprietors and members of their households; any home-care services employees and home-care services proprietors. "Employees" shall include management, corporate officers, volunteers, interns, public assistance recipients assigned to work projects (including but not limited to workers under the Public Works Program, the Community Work Experience Program and the Work Incentive Program) and auxiliary workers who come into regular, constant, routine, patterned contact with children receiving child day-care services or persons receiving home-care services.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 24-1985; 6-10-1986 by L.L. No. 16-1986; 8-15-1989 by L.L. No. 31-1989; 8-10-2004 by L.L. No. 23-2004]
Any contractor shall be responsible for the recruitment of appropriate personnel, the verification of credentials and references, the review of criminal record information in conjunction with the Department of Social Services or, with regard to home-care services, the Department of Health Services, the screening of all current and prospective personnel, the selection and hiring of all personnel necessary to furnish child day-care services and home-care services, respectively, and the periodic updating of such information obtained from the implementation of this section.
Screening shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
Review of criminal convictions and pending criminal actions in conjunction with the Department of Social Services or, with regard to home-care services, the Department of Health Services.
Inquiry as to persons 18 years of age and older with the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.
Prior to allowing any new employee or volunteer to work at a day-care facility contracted with the County of Suffolk, an inquiry shall be made to the New York State Sex Offender Registry. A completed verification form prescribed by the Department shall be filed with the Contract Administrator at the Suffolk County Department of Social Services within three business days prior to the commencement of employment and shall be included as part of the facility's official record.
For prospective personnel only, inquiry with the applicant's three most recent employers. For the purpose of providing residential child-care or home-care services, "applicant" shall be limited to personnel actually providing the child-care services in the home or home-care services in the home.
Any criminal history record (CHR) reply supplied by the state or New York Division of Criminal Justice Services shall be received and reviewed by the Department of Social Services or the Department of Health Services, whichever is appropriate.
No contractor shall dismiss or permanently deny employment to current or prospective personnel who are subjects of a pending criminal action. A contractor may suspend such current personnel or defer employment decisions on the basis of such action, pending a final disposition of the pending criminal action. The Department of Social Services or the Department of Health Services, whichever is applicable, shall advise the contractor, in writing, of any CHR reply which may preclude current or prospective personnel from employment.
Any contractor is hereby authorized and required to have all current and prospective personnel fingerprinted by an appropriate County agency or department.
As a condition of employment and continued employment, the contractor shall obtain written consent from all current and prospective child day-care services and home-care services personnel for fingerprinting and criminal record review. Denial of such consent shall constitute grounds for dismissal or refusal to employ.
The Departments herein shall require appropriate documentation from the contractor, indicating compliance with this section. The requirements contained in this section shall be incorporated into all contracts for child day-care services and home-care services entered into by the County of Suffolk. Any violation of such a condition shall constitute a material breach of the contract sufficient to cause termination by the County.
The Commissioner of the Department of Social Services shall require termination of child day-care services personnel and the Commissioner of the Department of Health Services shall require termination of home-care services personnel in instances in which the screening required by Subsection B of this section results in a finding that such personnel have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor which, in the judgment of the Commissioner of the respective department, endangers the health, safety and physical and/or mental well-being of a recipient of child day-care services or a recipient of home-care services.
The Commissioner of the respective Department shall issue, promulgate and adopt such rules and regulations as he or she shall deem necessary and sufficient to carry out and implement the terms and conditions of this chapter with respect to day-care services and home-care services, respectively, including transitional rules to cover the initial 180 days immediately subsequent to the effective date of this chapter.
[Added 9-12-2000 by L.L. No. 24-2000]
The Fingerprint Implementation Committee (hereinafter the "Committee") is hereby established and consists of the following members:
Commissioner of Social Services or designee.
Commissioner of Health Services or designee.
Commissioner of Police or designee.
District Attorney or designee.
A representative of a trade or other association whose members employ personnel covered by the provisions of Chapter 396 of the Suffolk County Code to be appointed by the County Executive.
The Chairman of the Committee shall be the Commissioner of Social Services or designee.
Within 120 days of the effective date of this section, the Committee shall have its first meeting.
The Committee shall:
Meet regularly according to a schedule and at such locations as shall be determined by a majority vote of the Committee.
Identify, investigate and recommend one or more solutions to the impediments of implementing this chapter as it pertains to home-care services personnel. The recommendations of the Committee shall be approved by a majority vote of its members. Upon adoption of the Committee's recommendations, the Chairman shall forward copies to the Legislature and the County Executive.
[Added 9-12-2000 by L.L. No. 24-2000]
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter, on the day that federal or state legislation goes into effect incorporating the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this chapter, or in the event that a pertinent federal or state administrative agency issues and promulgates regulations preempting such action by the County of Suffolk or which incorporate the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this chapter, or if same go into effect prior to the effective date of this section, the provisions of this chapter that are affected by such federal or state legislation or regulations shall be null and void.
[Added 9-12-2000 by L.L. No. 24-2000]
Implementation of this chapter as it pertains to home-care services personnel is suspended until such time as the recommendations of the Fingerprint Implementation Committee, established pursuant to § 396-4, are adopted into law.