Summer camp laws | Who's watching your child?

How much do you know about the camp counselors watching your children?

For many of you, with young children, school is about to be out for the summer, and parents are left to figure out what their child should do for the next couple of months that includes picking out the right summer camps.
But hundreds of camps the Bay Area, are exempt from being licensed.

Today, Travis Biggar, is fishing with his son.
Soon, his son’s day’s will be spent at summer camp.
But he may be fishing for more information after we tell him about the regulations for summer camps.

“That actually is a little bit scary,” says Biggar.

After looking over the state statute, there’s a loop hole. Summer camps that aren’t licensed day care centers are exempt from having to be licensed.
The law also states that all employees are required to be background checked but who’s making sure they are?

Camp counselors here in Florida have found themselves behind bars, this camp director arrested for an underage sex sting—and this man charged with sex battery of a girl he met at a camp.

This press release from DCF, states ‘Though summer camps are not licensed or inspected by DCF, the department investigates complaints and concerns related to background screenings.

“It is troubling,” says Tom Rosenberg, the president of the American Camp Association.
“We need to have ability to make sure those working with children are safe,” says Rosenberg. “State licensing varies from state to state. Some states have very little regulations. Some states have a lot of regulations. Very inconsistent across the country.”

The American camp association accredits summer camps all across the nations.
“To be accredited you submit 300 standards. From the facilities, quality of food service, safety standards, ratio, staff training, background checks,” says Rosenberg.

We went on the website to find out which camps are accredited here in the Bay area, day and overnight, and we found less than 20.

“The only way a parent state to state, coast to coast, knows that background checks, procedures are in place, is to know it’s an American camp Associated accredited camp,” says Rosenberg.

Abigail Perez with the Hillsborough County early learning coalition say they agency would never align a child up with a child care center that is not licensed.

“All of the centers we offer to families, they have to be licensed. That is a process they go through,” says Perez.

And that also includes summer camps.

“We encourage parent to visit center without scheduling a visit first. Learn about size ratio. Look at lessons. What are they offering child. Ask yourself, ‘Is your child comfortable there,” says Rosenberg.

Summer camp administrators may voluntarily submit their information to DCF. For a listing on the summer camp page go to www.myflfamilies.com/summercamps.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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