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Safe Sport Act - Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse

Any form of child abuse is contemptible and goes against the mission of the Babe Ruth League program.  The safety, well-being and protection of our participants is paramount to Babe Ruth League, Inc.  For over a decade Babe Ruth League has had several programs in place to encourage safe interaction between volunteers and youth, as well to create a safe, educational and enjoyable environment for all.  These include mandatory Coaches Education and Certification, Risk Management disclosures, and mandatory background screening (including a check of the applicable government sex offender registry) on all managers, coaches, board members, as well as any other persons/volunteers, who provide regular service to the league, and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams. 

Babe Ruth League calls to your attention the  Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, which is now federal legislation signed into law effective February 14, 2018.  Babe Ruth League, Inc. will continue to implement rule changes and other initiatives to abide by the policies and procedures of this law.

U.S. Federal Law
The Safe Sport Act creates a new standard of care that affects all youth-serving organizations around the country, not just Babe Ruth League, Inc. or just the sports of youth baseball and softball.  This law mandates that all amateur sports organizations, which participate in an interstate or international amateur athletic competition and whose membership includes any adult who is in regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor, must report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, within 24 hours to law enforcement. According to federal law:

  • Child abuse is defined as physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment of a child. 
  • What about Babe Ruth leagues that don’t compete against international or out-of-state teams, does the Safe Sport Authorization Act still apply to them?  It does.  The law is written broadly, but since you have adults working with youth and the requirement says that they need to follow the Safe Sport Act requirements, all adult Babe Ruth volunteers that are in repetitive contact with minor athletes will need to be in compliance. 
  • As such, all adult Babe Ruth League volunteers MUST comply with Babe Ruth League mandates – Coaches Certification and Background Screening - as well as comply with the Safe Sport Act requirements - Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training and the Mandatory reporting of Child Abuse. 
  • According to the Safe Sport Act, if any individual suspects, has reason to believe, has knowledge of, or observes a child being subjected to, conditions that would reasonably result in harm to the child, the individual is required to report that abuse within a 24-hour period to appropriate law enforcement agencies, as determined by state or federal law. 
  • An individual who is required, but fails to report suspected child sexual abuse, is subject to criminal  and civil penalties.
  • If you make a report of child abuse, please also communicate this report to Babe Ruth League, Inc.  Any volunteer involved will be suspended, and if convicted of inappropriate acts with a child, will be barred from participating in Babe Ruth League.  Such individuals may also be entered into a national database for banned volunteers and coaches.  Reporting to Babe Ruth League is not a substitute for reporting to the appropriate law enforcement.
  • The federal obligations are in addition to any State law requirements that an individual may have in a particular jurisdiction.

State Law
Fifty (50) states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws which address mandatory reporting of child abuse to protect the health and safety of children.

In order to be in compliance with the Safe Sports Act and meet the specifications of Babe Ruth League’s mandatory background screening, Babe Ruth League, Inc. strongly suggests and advises all managers, coaches, board members, umpires, as well as any other persons/volunteers, who provide regular service to the league, and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams, use the services of SportsEngine.  Although not a current requirement of the Safe Sport Act, we also suggest that any participant who is a minor complete abuse prevention education.

SportsEngine is the leading software provider of sport life management solutions for youth sports organizations.  In January of 2018, SportsEngine acquired Sports Illustrated Play and continues to serve the Sports Illustrated Play customers, providing the same commitment to service that you have come to expect.

Safety is a fundamental piece of SportsEngine’s mission to help more kids get out and play.  That is why Sports Engine also acquired the two leading providers of background screening services – the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) and Southeastern Security Consultants (SSCI).  NSCI and SSCI services are fully integrated with the SportsEngine platform, but they remain as an independently-operated company to ensure data privacy and security.

Background Screening by NCSI/SSCI is very different from a discount background check.  Background Screening by NCSI/SSCI is the Gold Standard in youth and amateur sports because of the quality of service provided by NCSI/SSCI and the depth of the background check.  Unlike most discount screens, NCSI will do an in-depth identify verification, search over 800 million records from the national multi-jurisdictional databases, and the sex offender registry, and then go to the local state and county searches.  This is a key component missing from many discount searches, as many localities do not consistently report up to the national database providers. NCSI/SSCI will then always do a thorough quality control review on the report before sending results back to the customer.

Education/Prevention of Child Abuse Education is a very important tool for our children and adults. It empowers them to recognize potentially compromising situations, and it places a barrier between abusers and their victims. SportsEngine has integrated Abuse Prevention Training to their services to fulfill the requirements set forth by the Safe Sport Act for all adults who have contact with minor children.  In addition, they offer abuse prevention education for minors at no charge. 

Any Babe Ruth League volunteer can complete Background Screening and Abuse Prevention Training offered by SportsEngine for a nominal fee of $25 per person that is valid for two years.  Any individual who completed and passed a valid background screening during the 2018 season is not required by the Safe Sports Act to submit for background screening until 2020, however, they are required to complete Abuse Prevention Training, which is offered at $10 per person.  To ensure your volunteers are Safe Sport Compliant, we cannot stress enough the importance of using SportsEngine’s Services.

Further information, frequently asked questions, how to use SportsEngine’s excellent services and child protection can be found at www.baberuthleague.org.  We also encourage parents and volunteers to read more about the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, and familiarize themselves with the resources available to report abuse and learn about the counseling and referral services that are available.

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