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.
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