District 4

Modifications to Little League's Child Protection Law - May 2018

Passage of Senate Bill 534, known as the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, has made it a federal crime to "mind your own business," in matters of child abuse or neglect.

All youth sports volunteers operating in the United States, including Little League volunteers, are obligated to notify authorities of any first-hand accounts of abuse or neglect of a minor. This information has been updated and reflected in Little League's Child Protection Program.

In summary, the new law requires that suspected child abuse must be reported within 24 hours to local law enforcement. If an individual suspects a case of abuse within their league, they should report it to the appropriate child services organization and/or law enforcement as well as their League President and District Administrator. The Little League Guidelines on Reporting Child Abuse are included in the program's Child Protection program.

The following points should also be highlighted to all Little League volunteers:

1. Federal legislation sets minimum standards to define child abuse and neglect: "(1) Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or (2) an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm." The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g). However, the definition of child abuse and neglect varies by state and we strongly suggest your league consult with an attorney to determine what laws govern your reporting obligations.

2. Who is required to report suspected abuse? Any adult individual involved in their league. Coaches, managers, board members, concessions workers, field and maintenance workers, umpires, scorekeepers, team-moms, etc.

3. Any individual who fails to report suspected child abuse may be subject to criminal penalties.

4. Reporters are immune from liability even when a good faith report of abuse turns out to be unsubstantiated. Little League policy prohibits any kind of retaliation when a good faith report of child abuse is made.

5. There are training materials provided on the LL website about recognizing signs of abuse and child abuse reporting.

6. Additional Resources:
Read more on ChildWelfare.gov about mandatory reporting, with a summary of state reporting laws
State (toll-free) child abuse reporting numbers
Search the definitions of child maltreatment by state
• For crisis assistance, counseling, and referral services:
• Childhelp is a national organization that provides crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors. All calls are anonymous. Contact them at (800) 4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), or visit ChildHelp.org.

7. Child Protection Program information available on LittleLeague.org:
Little League Child Protection Program | PDF Download
Little League Player Safety
Guidelines to Reporting Abuse
State Specific Information on Child Abuse
State Background Check Laws
SafeSport Parents' Training Resources 05/21/2018

Additional Resource: Download the Stewards of Children® Prevention Toolkit Mobile App and learn about how to protect the children in your life.

Child Protection Program

All local Little Leagues are required to conduct background checks on managers, coaches, board of directors members and any other persons, volunteers or hired workers, who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams.

Individuals are required to complete and submit a Little League Volunteer Application to their local league.

Each year, Little League International provides each local league located within the United States 125 free criminal background checks administered through JDP Background Screening. Additional background checks through JDP are $1 each. The 125 free background checks are reset on November 1 of each year.

Little League Regulations:

Regulation I (c) 8:

  • Requires that all of the following persons have annually submitted a fully completed "Little League Offical Volunteer Application" to the local league president, prior to the applicant assuming his/her duties for the current season: managers, coaches, Board of Directors members, and any other person, volunteers, or hired workers, who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams.
  • The "Little League Official Volunteer Application" must be maintained by the president of the local league Board of Directors for all persons named above, for a minimum of at least two years after the volunteer is no longer in the league. When it comes time to dispose of these records, they should be destroyed as they contain sensitive information.
  • Failure to comply with this regulation may result in the suspension or revocation of tournament privileges and/or the local league's charter by action of the Charter or Tournament committees in Williamsport.

Regulation I (c) 9:

  • Conduct an annual background check on all persons that are required to complete a "Little League Official Volunteer Application" prior to the applicant assuming his/her duties for the current season.
  • A local league within the United States must conduct a nationwide background check utilizing JDP or another provider that is comparable to JDP Background Screening in accessing background check records for sex offender registry data and othr criminal records.
  • No local league shall permit any person to participate in any manner, whose background check reveals a conviction, guilty plea, no contest plea, or admission to any crime involving or against a minor or minors.
  • All local leagues must take into consideration criminal records when making the determination whether the individual is unfit to participate in any manner in the league.
  • Local leagues shall be required to determine the applicability of, and comply with, all State, local, and municipal laws, administrative rules and regulations, and municipal ordinances regarding background checks including, but not limited to, sex offender registry checks, criminal history records or reports, fingerprinting, certifications, or other requirements associated with volunteers, coaches, participants, and/or employees.

Initiated in 2017:

  • Nationwide background checks must include criminal records in addition to the sex offender registry data
  • Leagues must use JDP Background Screening, or a comparable provider, when completing their background checks (currently there are no other providers that have as complete a background check as JDP Background Screening, thus leagues must use JDP Background Screening for their background checks)

Download free Parent Guides that gives you advice on how to spot a child sex offender.

Tips for Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse

Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse - Ages 5 - 10

Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse - Age 11 - 17