6171 Safe Mentoring Act
SUBJECT: SAFE MENTORING ACT
In accordance with the Safe Mentoring Act, to ensure the safety of students involved in the District’s mentoring program, the District will obtain a criminal history record check from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for each prospective employee as well as prospective volunteer mentors who are involved in any District mentoring program and who may engage in unsupervised activities with youth or in activities with youth in a setting without constant District or parental/guardian oversight.
- "Prospective employee" shall mean a person being considered for employment by a mentoring program.
- "Prospective mentor" shall mean an individual who is currently applying to volunteer to help a child or a group of children in a mentoring program for a period of time. Such help shall include, but not be limited to, being a positive role model for youth, building relationships with youth, and providing youth with academic assistance and exposure to new experiences and examples of opportunity that enhance the ability of children to become responsible adults.
- A "criminal history record" shall mean a record of all convictions of crimes and any pending criminal charges maintained on an individual by the DCJS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- "Mentoring program" shall mean a formalized program operated by an educational institution or school district that matches youth with adult volunteers with the purpose of providing such youth with positive role models to enhance their development.
Prospective School Employees
All prospective school employees (as enumerated pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulations, 8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations Section 80-1.11 and Part 87) must already receive clearance from the State Education Department (SED) in accordance with existing procedures. However, all other requirements of the Safe Mentoring Act apply to prospective school employees who are being considered for employment by a mentoring program.
The District shall require that a criminal history record check be conducted for any “prospective employee” not otherwise defined as a “prospective school employee” per Commissioner’s Regulations in accordance with Social Services Law Section 390-e and District procedures.
Prospective Volunteer Mentors
Volunteers, however, are not “covered” by such regulations, and “prospective mentors” (i.e., defined as applicants for volunteer work in a mentoring role/program) will be subject to the requirements of Social Services Law Section 390-e and District procedures.
Fees for Fingerprinting
Both the DCJS and the FBI impose a processing fee. The fees for the criminal history record search shall be an amount equal to the fees established by DCJS and the FBI for processing the criminal history information request. In addition, the entity that actually takes the fingerprints may impose a fee. The fees shall be payable to the Office of Child & Family Services (OCFS) and paid by money order, check or certified check by the District.
Unless otherwise authorized by the Board of Education, the prospective employee and/or prospective volunteer mentor shall pay such fees.
Waiver by Custodial Parent/Guardian
A custodial parent/guardian may sign a waiver authorizing a mentor to work with his/her child regardless of a criminal charge or crime related to a mentor, unless the crime is a sex offense or a crime against a child. No waiver is permitted in the case of a sex offense or a crime against a child. This waiver process may only be initiated upon the consent of the prospective mentor, and be on a form developed by the OCFS. Where applicable, the District may notify a custodial parent/guardian of his/her waiver right, but a waiver shall only be authorized by a custodial parent or guardian.
The criminal history record shall be confidential pursuant to applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations, and shall not be published or in any way disclosed to persons other than authorized personnel, unless otherwise authorized by law.
The District will provide each custodial parent/guardian of every child participating in its mentoring program a description of the kind of criminal background checks conducted on prospective employees and prospective volunteer mentors in accordance with law.
Social Services Law Section 390-e
Correction Law Sections 752 and 755
Executive Law Section 837(8-a)
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)
Section 80-1.11 and Part 87