Background Checks

Critical Legislation to Protect Mentees through Affordable and Timely Background Checks

Legislative Goal:

To secure passage for the Child Protection Improvements Act in the House and Senate.

This bill would create a permanent successor to MENTOR's SafetyNET, which has now ended, provided mentoring organizations with access to nationwide FBI fingerprint searches of potential volunteers at a cost of $18 and with a turnaround time of between three and five days. This legislation addresses inadequacies within the current background check system, which include: lack of access to nationwide checks, high cost and an often-lengthy response time. Contact your members of Congress today and urge them to protect youth by passing CPIA now!

In the wake of the 2014 midterm elections, time is running out for Members of Congress to pass CPIA before Congress adjourns in December. CEOs from 22 organizations who support and provide services to America’s youth have signed letters in support of the bill to Senate and House leaders. Read the letters in full and additional CPIA documents below.


Letters to Congress

November 2014 – CEO Support Letter to House Leadership

November 2014 - CEO Support Letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee

April 2014 - CPIA Support Letter to U.S. House

November 2013 - CPIA Support Letter to U.S. Senate


CPIA Resources

CPIA Advocacy Talking Points

Child Protection Improvements Act Fact Sheet

SafetyNET Fact Sheet


Curious about the background check laws in your state? The American Camp Association has a resource available that shows whether or not FBI criminal background checks are required for volunteers and the amount for processing these checks. To complete a search, enter your state and identify the row titled “State Allows FBI Checks”. Information is updated annually.

American Camp Association Search


Legislative Milestones :

This bipartisan bill has gained support during previous congressional sessions and has reached numerous legislative milestones:

2012: The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) was once again introduced and it passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

2011: Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced this bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S. 645) and Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Mike Rogers (R-MI) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the identical bill in the House (HR 1360).

2010: The Child Protection Improvements Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 413-4.

2009: Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced a new version of the Child Protection Improvements Act in the Senate (S. 1598). Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), John Ensign (R-NV), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Arlen Specter (D-PA), David Vitter (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are also original cosponsors of the Senate bill.

S. 1598 was endorsed by many youth-serving organizations including: A World Fit for Kids; After-School All-Stars; Afterschool Alliance; American Camp Association; America's Promise Alliance; Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Communities In Schools, Inc.; First Focus; The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; Lutheran Services in America; MENTOR; National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies; National Collaboration for Youth; National Foster Care Coalition; and YMCA of the USA.

Earlier in 2009, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Mike Rogers (R-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the Child Protection Improvements Act (H.R. 1469) in the House.