(Suffern, NY) – Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) called on Governor Cuomo today to sign legislation (S.1140/A.2029) into law, which notifies parents if a camp they have chosen is not regulated by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
“Many parents have no idea they have chosen a non-regulated camp that is not inspected by the State, which is why this legislation is critically important,” said Senator David Carlucci. “Non-regulated camps could have sex offenders on staff preying on our children. Every parent should be notified if their child’s camp is not inspected and not following strict State guidelines. We need the Governor to take immediate action and sign this bill into law to keep our children safe.”
“This is all about children safety. Parents need to be fully informed when State regulations are not in place so they can make informed decisions about where to send their children for camp activities,” said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti.
The lawmakers made the comments at Rockland Community College (RCC) Summer Camps in Suffern and were joined in support of the bill by the camp’s director, George Glover. Regulated camps like RCC Summer Camps must adhere to strict guidelines from the State and be annually inspected to obtain a permit of operation from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
However, lawmakers explained the estimated 10,000 non-regulated single-purpose day camps in New York State pose significant safety risks to children because they are not required to meet the same health and safety standards. Single purpose camps focus on one activity like baseball or soccer and are extremely popular for children who specialize in a sport.
Non-regulated camps do not have to check if the staff is on the sex offender registry prior to hiring, they do not have to report injuries or illnesses of campers, and they are not required to keep up to date vaccination records of campers.
The legislation sponsored by Carlucci and Abinanti requires non-regulated children's camps provide parents or guardians notice that they are not regulated by the NYSDOH by including the following notice on a child’s application or enrollment form:
"This camp is not regulated or inspected by the New York State Department of Health and is not required to obtain a Department of Health permit. This camp is not required to follow Department of Health regulations, including, checking the state sex offender registry prior to hiring staff; maintaining minimum staff-to-child ratios; hiring medical personnel; or reporting injuries or illnesses to the Department of Health."
Non-regulated camps will also have to include the notice on their website and post it prominently at the camp’s facilities.
The New York State Camp Directors Association and the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey firmly support this bill.
“We applaud the efforts that Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Abinanti are making on behalf of the safety of children in the state of New York,” said Susie Lupert with the New York State Camp Directors Association and American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. “For too long, families have been kept in the dark about how camps are licensed. It is time to be upfront with the public about which camps are regulated and which ones are not."
The Governor has until December 31st to sign the bill into law.