August 16, 2010

Further Protection for Our Youth from Sex Offenders

Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford and the members of the Nassau County Legislature passed a new law to help families protect their children from registered sex offenders. The new legislation, the first of its kind in New York, requires youth agencies to certify that all employees have been checked against New York State’s list of registered sex offenders under the Sex Offender Registration Act.

“We cannot take the safety of our children for granted,” said Legislator Ford.“This is an innovative measure that’s being implemented to allow parents to access information regarding the safety of their children.”

The new legislation allows any parent or guardian to inquire whether there is a registered sex offender employed by a youth agency, whether full-time, part-time or as a volunteer. All youth organizations, including daycare centers, sports organizations, clubs, and any individual who works with children (ages 18 and under) must provide a disclosure statement to parents/guardians (upon request). This disclosure should ensure that all principals, employees, volunteers, and independent contractors associated with the youth agency are not registered sex offenders pursuant to verification with the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

It has been shown that there is a high rate of recidivism for convicted sex offenders and therefore such offenders may pose a risk to youth entrusted in their care. This legislation helps to ensure parents that their children are not exposed to registered sex offenders.

“We hope this legislation will discourage sex offenders from attempting to work with youth in Nassau County,” said Ford.