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California Assembly Bill 506

What is included in Assembly Bill 506?

California’s Assembly Bill 506 (AB506) became law on September 16, 2021 and went into effect on January 1, 2022.  This new law sets new requirements for youth serving organizations in three areas: screening, training, and policies. In addition, the law allows insurance carriers to seek verification of compliance with these requirements. The law requires the following:

  • All administrators, employees, and volunteers must complete a background check; anyone with a history of child abuse is excluded from working or volunteering in a youth serving organization.
  • All administrators, employees, and “regular” volunteers (see 2b. below) must complete child abuse and neglect reporting training.
  • Youth serving organizations must develop and implement child abuse prevention policies and procedures which include (but are not limited to):
    • policies to ensure incidents of suspected child abuse are reported to the appropriate entities. Section 11165.9 of the California Penal Code
    • policies requiring the presence of at least two mandated reporters when employees and volunteers are in contact with or supervising children.
  • Insurers may request information of youth serving organizations to show compliance with these requirements as part of their loss control and underwriting program

 

How do I know if my organization and employees or volunteers are required to comply with this law?

  • According to the law: “Youth service organization means an organization that employs or utilizes the services of persons who, due to their relationship with the organization, are mandated reporters pursuant to (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 111.65.7 of the Penal Code.” The definition written in the law is broad and therefore, Praesidium recommends that all organizations providing services and/or programing to youth and children comply with the law’s requirements.
  • Additionally, the law states “Regular volunteer means a volunteer with the youth service organization who is 18 years of age or older and who has direct contact with, or supervision of, children for more than 16 hours per month or 32 hours per year.”

 

How does my organization meet the screening requirements?

The minimum requirement for organizations is to conduct the fingerprinted background check through the California Department of Justice. It’s important to note that this check is limited to criminal convictions in the state of California. The law also requires organizations to disclose to parents if they employ or allow someone to volunteer with the following offenses in their background: sexual assault, public indecency, abandonment and neglect of a child, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, child endangerment, or inflicting punishment on a child. Parents must receive the notification at least 10 days before the individual begins their duties.

 

How does my organization meet the training requirements?

The law requires broadly that all administrators, employees, and regular volunteers complete “child abuse and neglect identification and training in child abuse and neglect reporting.” This can be met by completing any abuse prevention course that meets the State’s broad requirements, namely that it includes California’s reporting requirements and process. Youth serving organizations may use California’s free course Mandated Reporter Training course to meet this requirement. However, this course is 4 hours in length and omits important information for preventing abuse.   See below for additional training recommendations and resources from Praesidium that exceeds the requirements of AB506.

 

How does my organization meet the policy requirements?

As stated above, youth serving organizations must develop and implement child abuse prevention policies and procedures which include (but are not limited to):

  • Policies to ensure incidents of suspected child abuse are reported to the appropriate entities. Section 11165.9 of the California Penal Code
  • Policies requiring the presence of at least two mandated reporters when employees and volunteers are in contact with or supervising children.

 

If my organization adheres to the requirements of this law, are we doing enough to protect youth in our care?

  • No, just adhering to AB506 is not enough to protect youth or meet basic industry standards. Background checks:  As mentioned above, AB506 only requires organizations to run a criminal history search in the State of California.  Convictions that have occurred outside of California will not be identified using this search. In addition, the required search does not include a national sex offender registry or county level searches. Praesidium recommends that organizations supplement the required check with the following:
    • Multi-state criminal records search;
    • National sex offender registry check;
    • Social-security-number trace and alias search; and
    • Individual County level search in every county the applicant has lived, worked, or attended school over the last seven years.
  • Training: In addition to mandatory reporting training Praesidium recommends the following training topics for employees and volunteers:
    • The organization’s policies related to preventing and responding to abuse.
    • How to maintain appropriate boundaries with youth;
    • Effective monitoring and supervision practices for high-risk activities and for managing youth
    • How to prevent, recognize and respond to youth-to-youth sexual activity and abuse
    • How to respond to boundary violations and allegations or incidents of abuse
  • Policies: In addition to policies requiring two adults being present at youth activities and reporting Praesidium recommends organizations implement policies that clearly define what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior between adults and youth and youth-to-youth and clear procedures for how to manage high-risk activities for abuse.

 

Contact Praesidium for more information on our services related to background screening, training and model abuse prevention policies and procedures.