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Background Checks Could Cost WD Youth Organizations

West Deptford will receive just 100 forms for free background check and fingerprinting for its youth organizations, leaving some volunteers out in the cold.

Required background checks for all volunteers in West Deptford's youth organizations could potentially affect each organization's bottom line.

In accordance with an ordinance that the West Deptford Township Committee passed in November, all volunteers involved with youth sports organizations in the township must have a background check via fingerprinting. However, at a recent recreation advisory board meeting, recereation director Greg Ley revealed that the township only received enough funding for 100 free background checks.

John DiCarlo, the president of the recreation advisory committee, said the township originally applied for 300 forms.

"We thought originally thought that we were going to get funding for the full amount," said DiCarlo. "But when they got back to us, they only had enough for 100 forms."

For West Deptford to receive funding for the background checks from the Kanka Foundation, every youth organization must have each volunteer complete the process. This extends beyond sports into organizations such as the West Deptford Little Theatre and the Boy Scouts. With so many volunteers across West Deptford's various organizations, that means there's not enough free background checks to go around.

Ley mentioned that the Kanka family has been fighting to get organizations more funding in the future so organizations won't have to eat the additional costs. But the 100 forms that they receive are all they are getting in funding from the state at the time.

Ley laid out the plan to distribute the free forms to the representatives of each organization. The head coaches for each organization will be given forms for free background checks first. The township would then discuss how to distribute any remaining leftover forms.

This leaves many assistant coaches and volunteers out in the cold, left to pay for their own background check and fingerprinting. Volunteers who don't receive a form must pay a fee of $26.

The cost for the additional background checks could come out of the organizations' pockets. Ley emphasized that it'll be up to the individual organizations to decided whether they will reimburse volunteers the $26 fee or whether each volunteer will have the eat the cost themselves.

The situation leaves a lot of the organizations in a sticky spot, as many did not seem to want to saddle volunteers with the expense, but also realize that the many background costs that they have to field will cut into an already tight budget.

DiCarlo also serves as the president of the West Deptford Soccer Club, and said the group has already decided to reimburse volunteers for the background check cost. The Boy Scouts informed him in an email that they will reimburse their volunteers as well. 

Not giving out background checks to all volunteers is not an option. DiCarlo stated in November that all organizations must have every volunteer turn in a background check or risk having their allotment of funding withheld or even being banned from using township facilities.

See also: 

  • Penn State Scandal Prompts New Policy for West Deptford Youth Sports
  • West Deptford Background Checks May Expand

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Donald Dicarlo January 24, 2013 at 11:11 AM
This is a perfect example of what is happening all throughout this country. A democractic requirement with no funding source. Is it a good idea yes but I sure remember Ms Dicarlo saying it won't cost anyone anything and then the truth comes out.
JD Ackley January 24, 2013 at 01:03 PM
I think you make a good point- a democratic requirement. I think that every parent in the township- myself included- wants the adult volunteers working with our children to have at the very minimum a background check. Pretty sure that's how a democracy works, serving the needs and desires of the majority for the greater good. I'd think you'd be hard pressed to find a parent in our community who would think a small fee to protect our most precious treasures is some sort of political scam.
Occupant January 24, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Access to children is what attracts pedofiles. Politics has no place here. The children's safety is paramount. So some funding for this program has not fully materialized. What volunteer would be against paying a small fee for a background check.
David Sileo January 24, 2013 at 01:19 PM
I think "Donald DiCarlo" would have made a good point and had more credibility if it wasn't rooted in political bashing. Whether Ms DiCarlo mis-calculated isn't the issue here. What is at issues as JD notes is the protection of our children. This is a small price to pay and in the spirit of volunteerism possibly the individual should consider covering the cost of thier own background check which I believe is tax detuctible. Those of us in healthcare have had to pay for background checks around license and certification periods. A small pricier to pay as JD continues. My three children all grown now had 1000s of fabulous hours in WD Rec. I commit to covering a couple of these fees.
trop January 24, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Once again, sports in WD get the preferrential treatment. How can Mr Ley decide that first dibs go to those programs? There are two Boy Scout troops (as well as cub scouts and girl scouts) with parents that volunteer up to 12 months a year! Why can't some forms be designated for those organizations? Most every cent those troops have is earned through community service, fundraising and parent contributions. If the Scouts don't deserve to get a break on the background checks, I don't know anyone else who would be more deserving.
ChuckWagon January 24, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Nowhere in this article did I read that Mr. Ley designated forms to any specific organization. Sounds like you jumped to a paranoid conclusion. And here's an easy solution: each organization should charge a fee to cover any additional cost for background checks. You can even double the fee for all of those parents who like to jump on websites like this to complain about everything but then sit on their rear-ends and volunteer to do NOTHING while these volunteers take the time to teach (and sometimes babysit) their children. Another problem solved!
trop January 24, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Chuckwagon, perhaps you are correct....when I read the below information, my interpretation was the sports organizations would be receiving the initial forms first. Upon re-reading it, hopefully each organization will be able to have a share of the total allotted to WD. Thank you for your enlightenment and especially those additional words of wisdom. We definitely need to do what we can to protect our children. "Ley laid out the plan to distribute the free forms to the representatives of each organization. The head coaches for each organization will be given forms for free background checks first. The township would then discuss how to distribute any remaining leftover forms."
voiceofunreason January 24, 2013 at 07:00 PM
I think the responsibility for our childrens protection lies within the home of the child. Backround checks are nicey-nice ways of "doing something". The Scouts require backround checks for any adult leader. I realize many parents can't or don't want to sign up to volunteer, but are on the camping trips and league fields amongst our children. How about a township ordinance to accept the BSA criminal backround check for adult scout leaders, and the township follows up with the mandate for un registered volunteers. Let me add, before Captain obvious jumps up to point out the problems within the BSA, EVERY registered leader in the BSA submits to a backround check and hours of mandatory training on youth protection.
Mary Lebeau January 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM
I think the use of the word "head coach" leads one to believe the sports teams are getting the forms. After all, the scouts (and Little Theatre, and other such organizations) don't have coaches. But perhaps that was just a poor choice of words. Time will tell. A township ordinance to accept criminal background checks from other sources (such as the checks substitute teachers and other school support personnel go through) would save money all around. I understand that, at the moment, these checks will not preclude the volunteer from having to go through this process again - and that money will have to come from somewhere.

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