AB506 Resources for your House of Worship

Here’s a helpful guide to understanding AB506 for churches and youth service organizations in California. The new California legislation (AB506) requires employees, administrators, and volunteers of youth-serving organizations (including houses of worship, schools, daycares, and nonprofits) to complete training in child abuse & neglect reporting and undergo Live Scan background checks.

Like training and background checks, every Youth Service Organization should already have existing policies designed to prevent and correctly respond to child sexual abuse.

Read our FAQ for our best recommendations on how houses of worship and other youth-service organizations can comply.

Is a House of Worship a “Youth Service Organization”?

Although houses of worship are not clearly defined in the definition of a Youth Service Organization, the law should be interpreted broadly as applicable.

To whom is it applicable?

An administrator or employee of a public or private youth center, youth recreation program, or youth organization. Also, volunteers, however, “volunteer” means a volunteer with the youth service organization who is 18 years of age or older and who has direct contact with, or supervision of, children for more than 16 hours per month or 32 hours per year.

What actions does it require?

New Training Requirement: Although not specific re: length, frequency, or record keeping, it does note that organizations may utilize the mandated reporter training provided by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services. This training does not have an online record keeping option. This will have to be done manually.

RECOMMENDATION: We highly recommend MinistrySafe’s training, which includes specific training on spotting groomers. MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems provide an extensive library of abuse prevention training, including Sexual Abuse Awareness Training, supplemented to include the content addressing other forms of abuse AND California reporting requirements and processes. Youth Service Organizations seeking alternative training must ensure that any training alternative addresses the topics covered by the Department of Social Services’ training for mandated reporters. For example, an alternative training must address topics beyond child sexual abuse (i.e., physical abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, neglect, etc.) AND describe California reporting requirements and processes.  Agency customers receive 50% off here.

New Background Check Requirement: Unfortunately, even if you are presently using a background check service other than Live Scan, the AB506 bill requires a Live Scan background check.

RECOMMENDATION: We strongly recommend you keep any existing background check program in place in addition to the Live Scan requirement. See pages 5-8 of the MinistrySafe article included for reasons why.

New Policy Provisions: (c) A youth service organization shall develop and implement child abuse prevention policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, both of the following: (1) Policies to ensure the reporting of suspected incidents of child abuse to persons or entities outside of the organization, including the reporting required pursuant to Section 11165.9 of the Penal Code. (2) Policies requiring, to the greatest extent possible, the presence of at least two mandated reporters whenever administrators, employees, or volunteers are in contact with, or supervising children.

RECOMMENDATION: Assistance with creating and storing policies can be found at: http://ms.ministrysafe.com/ccia or www.safegatherings.com.

Will AB506 affect my insurance?

Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.. has its own underwriting requirements regarding sexual misconduct prevention and limits of coverage available and offer of binding or renewing coverage. The introduction of CA AB506 has not changed or altered these underwriting requirements.

Read AB506 FAQ