From developing strict pitch count regulations in order to keep young arms healthy to the A Safety Awareness Program, providing a safe baseball and softball experience is paramount for Little League®. As part of Little League’s Child Protection Program, local leagues must conduct background checks on all volunteers and hired workers who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams.

From the start of the season through Fall Ball and beyond, Little League requires all volunteers to complete a Volunteer Application Form. All leagues must conduct a national criminal background check for each volunteer or hired worker that also includes the Department of Justice National Sex Offender Registry check. Effective with the 2021 Little League season, Regulation 1 (c) 9 requires: A background check must include the review of the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Centralized Disciplinary Database and Little League Ineligible list.

All managers, coaches, Board of Directors members, umpires, concession stand workers, Team Moms, scorekeepers, and other volunteers who have regular service to the league or repetitive access to children must complete the background check process. If a volunteer is spending time in the dugout or helping out at practices, that individual must submit a volunteer application and go through the background check process. It’s important to remember that volunteer appointments are for one year only and that every year, all individuals volunteering at the local level must go through the background check process again.

The JDP Background Screening database, which contains in excess of 600 million records, including criminal and sex offender registry records covering 50 states and the District of Columbia, review of the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Centralized Disciplinary Database and Little League Ineligible list, which meets the current regulation requirement. Through JDP, Little League provides each league with 125 FREE criminal background checks, with additional checks provided at a minimal cost for the league.

For leagues that participate with Sports Connect, they have integrated their ability to conduct national background checks on local and district volunteers through the Sports Connect platform. An integration between Sports Connect and JDP is available for a seamless process for both the league volunteer and the league admin.

Local leagues may utilize other background check providers but will need to confirm the provider’s ability to satisfy all of the above requirements for a complete search, which may require contacting the Little League International’s Security Manager to gain access to the Little League International Ineligible list. The local little league should also request the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Centralized Disciplinary Database in their search. If a background check provider is not able to gain access to the U.S. Center for SafeSport Centralized Disciplinary Database, the league is responsible for reviewing the database on the U.S. Center for Safesport website.

While Little League does its part to keep children in our program safe, all members of the Little League family, from parents to grandparents to spectators, should assist in this important effort. Little League encourages everyone to pay close attention to those who have regular, repetitive access to children. For instance, if a person consistently volunteers at practices that person must complete a background check. If there is a question as to whether that person has gone through the proper background check procedure, it must be brought to the attention of the league’s Board of Directors. If a potential volunteer appears on the National Sex Offender Registry,  the league must contact the Security Manager at Little League International prior to appointing the volunteer to participate in any capacity in the league. Call 1-570-326-1921; and ask to speak with the Security Manager.

Just like when a baseball or softball team works together they experience more success, we can all do our part in helping to ensure Little Leaguers® play in a safe, fun environment where children can be children while enjoying the game they love with their friends.