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Little League Web Site Provides Details On Conducting Background Checks For Volunteers

Click here to access the Little League Background Check Database 

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 16, 2002) – Little League Baseball’s Internet web site (www.littleleague.org) now provides local league administrators in the U.S. with recommendations for conducting background checks on its volunteers.

Little League is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with about 2.7 million baseball and softball players ages 5-18 in the U.S. There are about 1 million adult Little League volunteers in local Little Leagues, including managers, coaches, umpires and league administrators.

A new section of the Little League web site now lists recommendations from the attorneys general from most U.S. states that responded to a request from Little League Baseball International Headquarters. The address is: www.littleleague.org/allabout/backgroundchecks.htm.

Each attorney general was asked to provide his or her state’s recommendation on the most effective way to conduct a criminal background check in that state. The web site also includes information on whether individual states allow Internet users to search the state’s database of sex offenders.

“Thankfully, incidents of sexual abuse of Little Leaguers by adult volunteers have been extremely rare,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball, said. “While we realize that no screening process can ever be 100 percent effective, we believe this will be a useful tool in helping our local leagues prevent future tragedies.”

The new information on conducting background checks through Little League’s web site is part of the Little League Child Protection Program, which has been in place since 1998. The program gives advice to local league administrators on how to spot potential child abusers, educating the league on recognizing the warning signs of abuse. Details of the program are also available on the Little League Internet web site at: www.littleleague.org/allabout/childprotect.htm

“At this point, not all of our leagues have decided to make background checks mandatory, but we recommend them in the strongest terms,” Mr. Keener said. “There is a wide variety of procedures from state to state, and no regulation could cover them all adequately. Each individual local Little League should tailor their own system to the procedures allowed and recommended in their state, using the Little League background check information as a starting point.”

Mr. Keener added that access to the Little League Background Check Database is not limited to chartered Little League programs.

“This program is available to anyone, anywhere, who has access to the Internet,” he said. “Whether it’s another baseball or softball program, or any other sport or youth activity, we want to share this information with anyone who has the best interests of children in mind.”