Little League® is for everyone, and all children and families should be able to fully enjoy their Little League experience on and off the field. To help bring that fun, community-based opportunity to children, it is paramount that we keep the safety and well-being of our Little Leaguers® at the forefront of all that we do.
Little League International was the first youth sports organization to establish a Child Protection Program, and more than 25 years since this program has been initiated, Little League has been committed to providing new, easy-to-implement opportunities to enhance educational efforts, strengthen background check and training programs, and provide families and parents with the information needed to help keep their players safe.
Starting with the 2024 season, there are two key enhancements to our Child Protection Program to help in our continued evolution and commitment to player safety.
Enhanced Background Checks
- Little League International will begin utilizing a more robust product that features a higher level of protection from its partner, J.D. Palatine (JDP). The enhanced screening includes the JDP National Criminal Search, plus Developed names, and collects data from more than 685 million criminal records, sex offender registries in 50 states, OFAC, FBI Terrorist List, Proprietary Offender Data, Department of Public Safety, Administrative Office of the Courts, Department of Corrections, Federal/State/Local wanted fugitive lists, as well as searches of the SafeSport Centralized Disciplinary Database and Little League International Ineligible/Suspended List.
- Identifiers are used, such as full names, developed names, birth dates, and social security number (SSN) to identify matches.
- Little League International will continue to provide leagues with 125 free background checks through the JDP process.
- As a reminder, all volunteers with regular, repetitive access to players, including District Administrators and Assistant District Administrators, are required to complete the volunteer application through the background check process, and Little League International would encourage local Little League programs to have all volunteers complete their background check, as well as ensure all applicable state laws are being followed (LittleLeague.org/StateLaws).
- Please note, the new cost for those leagues who conduct additional checks past their 125 that are provided free by Little League International will be $1.50/background check.
Required Abuse Awareness Training for Adults
- In 2018, the “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017” became Federal law. As part of SafeSport, abuse awareness training has been highly encouraged for participants and volunteers in the Little League program.
- Beginning in 2024, this training will now be a required part of the annual Little League Volunteer Application, along with the annual background check. The training must be completed before any individual can assume any duties for the current season, including District Administrators and Assistant District Administrators.
- It is important that all volunteers in a league complete the training on an annual basis. Even though it may be a training an individual has completed in the past, it is important to keep the information that is taught through Abuse Awareness Training fresh in everyone’s mind. The more individuals involved in a league that have the information that Abuse Awareness Training provides, the better.
- Each league must determine which Abuse Awareness Training its volunteers must complete. USA Baseball’s BASE Abuse Awareness Training is a FREE online training that is SafeSport-compliant. This course can be completed in approximately 30 minutes online, producing a certificate of completion that you will share with the individual at your league who is responsible for overseeing your league’s background checks to verify you have completed the training. Regardless of which training program is used, each individual is responsible for providing their league with documentation to show that they’ve completed Abuse Awareness Training, annually.
- Visit LittleLeague.org/SafeSport for information on how to access the USA Baseball’s BASE Abuse Awareness Training and for more information on this Federal law.
Other Educational Resources for Parents
- As a Little League parent or volunteer, you can play a crucial role in helping to keep all children safe. The free resources listed below are tools to educate and raise awareness of the potential dangers children may face. You are urged to review these resources and arm yourself with additional knowledge on how to protect children.
- Helping Parents Prevent Abuse | U.S. Center for SafeSport
- Parent Toolkit | U.S. Center for SafeSport
- Safe to Compete
- Bullying 101: Understanding and Responding | Resources | USAB Develops
- Emotional & Physical Abuse & Misconduct Toolkit | Resources | USAB Develops
- Nothing Heals Like Sport | Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport
- Resource Guide on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports | LA84 Foundation
The safety and well-being of all participants in the Little League program is paramount, and we hope that this latest evolution of our Child Protection Program will continue to provide tools and resources to help keep our Little League communities a safe, welcoming environment for all children and families.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the Little League program.