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No National Screening System, Yet

A bill pending in Congress would create the National Center for Volunteer Screening, giving organizations that care for children a simple, one-stop means of checking their workers' backgrounds. Churches, daycare providers, and children's organizations would receive the criminal background check free (for volunteer workers) within 15 days, cutting through layers of law enforcement agencies and governmental red tape.

Sen. Joseph Biden, who last December introduced The National Child Protection Improvement Act (Senate Bill 1838), said while state screening is sometimes adequate, a coordinated, multi-state check is needed. A person who appears "safe" on one state's report may have been convicted of multiple counts of child molestation in another state.

The bill states the current system of retrieving national criminal background information on volunteers through an authorized agency of the state is cumbersome and sometimes requires months before vital results are returned. Plus, the high cost ...

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