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6/11/2024 General Assembly OKs bill establishing safety procedures and requirements for licensing of youth camps
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Sen. David P. Tikoian and Rep. Robert E. Craven that would establish safety procedures and requirements for the licensing of youth camps.

Among the requirements for licensing, the bill (2024-S 2174A, 2024-H 7154A) calls for adequate potable water; dwelling units to be maintained in good condition; and competent staff, including activities specialists, counselors and maintenance personnel, all of whom would be required to undergo a background check. It would also require staff to be trained in the administration of first aid.

“This is an incredibly important piece of legislation,” said Senator Tikoian (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, Lincoln, North Providence), who introduced the bill on behalf of the YMCA. “We want to ensure that the state’s youth camps are places where our children can be safe from abuse or negligence. But also, the federal government has begun withholding funding from unlicensed camps, which means thousands of Rhode Island children who rely on grant money to go to camp would be denied this extremely important experience, which is an integral part of childhood growth and development.”

The legislation also calls for an inspection of camp facilities by the Department of Human Services before a license is granted.

“First and foremost, this bill requires a heightened scrutiny in the licensing of youth camps to provide as much safety as possible at these extremely popular camps,” said Representative Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown). “Secondly, there are CCAP (Comprehensive Community Action Program) funds available that will provide for tuition-free participation for youths that qualify financially. Absent that licensing, the YMCA, which serves a large portion of those who need that assistance, would not be able to take that money because of federal rules.”

The CCAP funding is made available through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, which provides federal funding to states for child care subsidies for low-income families. State agencies and organizations that receive and distribute that money must adhere to federal rules and regulations.

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903