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Senate Committee Approves National Volunteer Screening Center

On May 23, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved, by voice vote, legislation (S. 1868) that would create a national screening center for volunteers and caregivers to reduce sexual and other abuse of children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.

Sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), the bill would establish an FBI national center to conduct criminal fingerprint and background checks at the request of volunteer organizations. The legislation would authorize $80 million in FY2003 to conduct the fingerprint and background checks, and $25 million annually from FY2004 through FY2007. Additionally, the bill would authorize an additional $5 million annually to hire personnel and to improve fingerprint technology.

“My bill envisions as many as 10 million background checks conducted per year at this center, enough to prevent felons and other dangerous members of society from getting anywhere near our kids,” said Sen. Biden. “Approval of this measure brings us one step closer to ensuring our kids, our grandparents, and those with disabilities are safe when they place their lives in the hands of employees and volunteers for organizations that provide care, treatment, education, and training,” he added.

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