[Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Lumberton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-19-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-9-011]
The purpose of this article is to provide for the safety of children engaged in activities sponsored by youth organizations by taking steps to provide for the reasonable assurance that volunteers for youth organizations have been subject to a criminal history record background check.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD BACKGROUND CHECK (BACKGROUND CHECK)
- A determination of whether a person has a criminal record by cross-referencing that person's name and fingerprints with those on file with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification Division and/or the New Jersey State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police.
- REVIEW COMMITTEE
- A committee comprised of the Chief of Police (or his/her designee), the Commissioner of the Recreation Commission (or his/her designee) and one Township resident appointed to the Review Committee by the Township Committee.
- Any adult individual, of the age of 18 years or older, who volunteers his/her time as a coach, leader, instructor or the like for a youth organization.
- YOUTH PROGRAM
- Any organized program with participants that are Lumberton residents under the age of 18 that: 1) are sponsored by the Township of Lumberton; 2) receive Township assistance for their programs and/or services; or 3) utilize Township facilities including buildings and/or fields of play on a regular or recurring basis. Youth programs shall specifically include, but not be limited to, the Lumberton Recreation Department.
Mandatory background check. All individuals seeking to volunteer for youth programs shall be required to submit to a mandatory background check. This requirement shall apply to new volunteers as well as existing volunteers, and the requirement may not be waived by the Recreation Commission or any other entity. Certified teachers who are currently teaching may gain exemption by providing a copy of a school district processed background check to the Recreation Department.
Process. All volunteers shall be required to submit to a background check, which shall be conducted by Sagem Morpho, Inc., a private entity under contract to the New Jersey State Police Department. The results of the background check will be submitted to the Review Committee and the Review Committee shall maintain the results as confidential. If the background check reveals that the volunteer is currently charged with or has been previously convicted of homicide, assault, endangering, threats, kidnapping, sexual offenses, robbery, theft, offenses against the family, children and incompetents, or possession, use, and/or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance as set forth in Chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, except Paragraph (4) of Subsection a of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10; or such act that the Review Committee determines are grounds for disqualification, then the volunteer shall be deemed to have failed the background check and shall not be permitted to volunteer in any way for a youth program.
Notification of failed background check. If an individual desiring to be a volunteer for a youth program fails the background check, the individual shall be notified of the failure in writing via certified and regular mail, with the reasons for the rejection stated therein, by the Review Committee. The individual shall further be advised in writing of his or her right to an appeal before the Review Committee, which hearing must be requested within 20 days of the receipt of the notice.
Appeal hearing. If an appeal hearing is requested by the individual pursuant to this section, at the hearing, the Review Committee shall first state the reasons for the denial on the record, and the individual shall thereafter be permitted to state his or her reasons as to why they should still be permitted to be a volunteer. The Review Committee shall thereafter render a decision on the individual's appeal and may either permit the individual to be a volunteer or reject the individual's appeal. The appeal may be granted or denied in the sole discretion of the Review Committee.
Among the factors to be considered by the Review Committee when considering an appeal include, but are not limited to:
Whether the results of the background check were accurate;
The nature and responsibility of the position for which the individual would hold or has held;
The nature and seriousness of the crime or offense;
The circumstances under which the crime or offense occurred;
The date of the crime or offense;
The age of the individual when the crime or offense was committed;
Whether the crime or offense was an isolated or repeated incident;
Any social conditions which may have contributed to the crime or offense;
Any evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, and the acquisition of additional academic or vocational education and prior participation in youth organizations; and
The recommendation of those who have had experience with the individual.
The Review Committee's decision shall, within 10 days after the hearing, be reduced to writing by the Review Committee and mailed certified and regular mail to the individual. A hearing under this section may be conducted in executive session pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
Recreation Department obligations. All youth program officers or leaders are required to make all reasonable efforts to comply with the requirements of this article. It is the responsibility of the youth program volunteer to coordinate with Sagem Morpho, Inc., and the Recreation Department to ensure background checks are being administered in compliance with this article. The Township shall bear the costs associated with conducting the background checks.
The Recreation Department, through a designated officer or leader, shall compile an annual roster of volunteers that are required to participate in the background check procedures of this article. The Recreation Commission shall sign the roster certifying the accuracy and completeness of the roster and volunteers' names. The Recreation Commission shall maintain records including the names of all volunteers and the date of their last background check. These records shall be disclosed annually to the Recreation Department to ensure that all volunteers are current with regard to the background check requirements.
The Recreation Department shall issue identification cards to all volunteers who have submitted to a background check and the identification cards must be in the possession of the volunteer whenever he or she is participating in any youth program activities. If an identification card is issued to a volunteer who is allowed to participate under the interim status provision of § 98-4B, and that volunteer later is deemed to have failed the background check, the Recreation Commission shall immediately revoke and confiscate the volunteer's identification card.
Written consent. Each person seeking to participate in a youth program as a volunteer shall execute a written consent in favor of both the Recreation Commission and the Township of Lumberton, its agents, servants and employees, authorizing said investigation, releasing the Township, and its agents, servants and employees from any liability arising from same, and holding them harmless. Failure to submit to said investigation will disqualify any such person from serving in the youth program.
Interim status. When a person has submitted written consent, he/she shall be provided interim status to engage in volunteering while awaiting the results of the background check, provided the person certifies that he/she has no reason to believe that he/she was found guilty of a crime that would result in his/her disqualification from service as a volunteer under the terms of this article. Interim status shall be sufficient to volunteer only until such time that the results of the background check are obtained.
A background check administered under the provisions of this article shall be valid for three years. At the expiration of three years, the volunteer must undergo a name check, but will not need to submit to subsequent fingerprinting in order to continue to serve as a volunteer.
Limitation on access. Access to criminal history record information for non-criminal justice purposes, including licensing and employment, is restricted to authorized personnel of the Township of Lumberton and the Recreation Commission, on a "need to know" basis, as authorized by federal or state statute, rule or regulation, executive order, administrative code, local ordinance or resolution regarding obtaining and dissemination of criminal history record information obtained under this article.
Limitation on use. The Township, the Review Committee and the Recreation Commission shall limit their use of criminal history record information solely to the authorized purpose for which it was obtained, and criminal history record information furnished shall not be disseminated to persons or organizations not authorized to receive the records. Any persons violating federal or state regulations governing access to criminal history record information may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties. The results of background checks shall not be subject to public disclosure and shall be retained only for a period of three years.
Township officials with access to the criminal history record information shall be limited to the following: Solicitor, Clerk, and the Review Committee and any other official specifically authorized by the Township Committee, provided he/she is a confidential employee and the Township Committee determines his/her involvement is necessary or useful in carrying out the terms and intentions of this article.
Any person, firm, corporation, association or legal party whatsoever who shall violate, or authorize or procure a violation, or cause to be violated, any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable as provided under § 1-11 governing general penalty provisions.