New California Sexual Abuse Prevention Legislation

Assembly Bill 506 (AB506) — Signed September 16, 2021

Requirements for ‘Youth Service Organizations’

New Article: Understanding AB506

1. To whom does the new law apply?

2. What action is required by the new law?

3. How can a ‘Youth Service Organization’ comply?

4. How does the new law create Insurance Carrier involvement?

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FAQ:

Q: If the organization is located in California but the applicant is not, is the organization required to comply?

A: The orientation of the new law is aimed at organizations in California.  If the organization operates in California, the organization must comply.

Compliance requires training staff members and volunteers* regardless of whether these individuals live outside the state of California.  Keep in mind, the purpose of the legislation is to protect children in California Youth Service Organizations.

Q: If the organization isn’t located in California, but the applicant is, is the organization required to comply?

A: The orientation of the new law is aimed at organizations operating in California.  An organization located outsideCalifornia is required to follow legal requirements in its respective state.  AB506 does not create a training requirement for paid staff members and volunteers that serve in an organization outside the state of California. Keep in mind, the purpose of the legislation is to protect children in California Youth Service Organizations.

Q: If the organization has multiple locations, including CA, is the entire organization required to comply or only those located in CA?  What if the organization’s headquarters or main office is located in CA?

A: The orientation of the new law is aimed at organizations operating in California, and Youth Service Organizations operating in California must comply.  An organization located outside California is required to follow legal requirements in its respective state.  AB506 does not create a training requirement for paid staff members and volunteers that serve in an organization outside the state of California.  Keep in mind, the purpose of the legislation is to protect children in California Youth Service Organizations.  In addition, all child-serving organizations should be (1) training staff members and volunteers concerning child abuse prevention and reporting; (2) performing Criminal Background Checks; and (3) implementing policies that require – at a minimum – the two-adult rule.

Q: Does AB506 make all volunteers ‘mandated reporters’?

A: AB506 does not add any additional category to the list of California mandated reporters found in CA Penal Code Section 11165.7(A).  Best practice: require all individuals working with children to report – internally and (when appropriate) to authorities– regardless of whether specifically listed as mandated reporters under California law.

Skillful Screening Processes & Training

Keeping the wolf out of the sheep pen. 

The Skillful Screening Process encourages an applicant with inappropriate motives to ‘self-select out’ of employee or volunteer pools by utilizing forms and processes meant to elicit a high-risk response. Skillful screening helps intake coordinators and interviewers recognize high-risk responses on applications, reference forms, or during an interview. 

Tailored Policies & Procedures

Rooted in the ‘grooming process’ of the offender.

Policies should be rooted in the grooming process of the preferential offender to be truly effective at preventing child sexual abuse. Policies must be succinct, understandable and tailored to ministry programs. Remember, policies are what you do, not what you say you do. 

Criminal Background Checks

Necessary, but NOT a stand-alone screening tool. 

Criminal background checks are no ‘silver bullet’ because more than 90% of sexual abusers have no criminal record to find, and they know it. Notwithstanding this reality, background checks have become a child-serving standard of care. In addition, STAIR STEP, GROOMING and PLEA-DOWN offenses are common, and should be known to ministry screeners. 

Monitoring & Oversight

Ensuring ongoing child protection compliance. 

Preventing sexual abuse requires a cohesive system of checks and balances designed to operate with efficiency and consistency. 

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Though Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris are attorneys, the information and training provided by MinistrySafe is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal counsel.