Baltimore County Council passes bill to require background checks for rec coaches

TOWSON, Md. - Youth coaches and other recreation volunteers in Baltimore County will soon have to undergo background checks after the County Council approved legislation Monday night.

The measure passed unanimously and put Baltimore County in line with other jurisdictions in the area. Prior to the legislation, Baltimore County was the only jurisdiction in the area not to require such background checks on such youth activities.

The legislation would not take effect until July 2015, giving the county a year to establish how to implement the background check and how to pay for them. According to the county auditor’s office, there are about 30,000 recreation volunteers in the county and the cost to implement the program would be about $1.2 million.

County Council chairwoman Cathy Bevins sponsored the legislation. She said previously that this made common sense and comes not long after the county banned smoking in most areas on county-owned parks.

“With all the steps that we are taking throughout Baltimore County to enhance safety and security, this is just one more way to keep kids safe,” said Bevins in a statement. “Certainly, my goal is not to deter parents and other residents from volunteering, but simply to screen and prevent certain offenders and potential predators from accessing minor children.”

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