BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As children get out of school for summer, many will participate in summer camps and workshops. But do you really know where you’re leaving your kids?
Whether it’s an acting workshop that lasts only a few days or an overnight camp in the woods, the fact remains: someone else is spending time with your children.
There are countless stories about children being abused by someone who is supposed to be looking out for them. However, in Alabama, it’s up to the parents to ask the right questions.
The state doesn’t have a statewide, uniform screening process for summer camp employees to go through. Instead, it’s up to each program to screen employees and run background checks on them. Some camps do conduct background checks, while some do not.
Joan Wright with Childcare Resources says it’s critical for parents to ask the right questions.
“This is your child that we’re talking about that is going to be in this program for sometimes 40-50 hours a week,” Wright said. “Maybe it’s only a week or two, but that’s the time your child is in the program, you should ensure the best people are caring for your child.”
Wright says parents should ask if the camps are performing background checks on employees, if they are doing sex offender searches and if there have been any complaints filed about an incident that happened there.
UAB ArtPlay performs background checks on all employees through UAB. Cameron Oaks Farm’s horse trainers have had background checks and have worked at the camp for many years.
However, at Sports Blast in Shelby County, there isn’t an official background check on the older kids who run the camps, but the coaching staff knows them well.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News