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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Background Checks at Municipal Youth Programs (2012MS-5)
We also released 8 letter reports to the following: Towns of Amherst [pdf], Clifton Park [pdf], Manlius [pdf] and Seneca Falls [pdf] and the Cities of Binghamton [pdf], Middletown [pdf], New Rochelle [pdf] and Utica [pdf].

Released: January 25, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether municipalities helped create a safe environment for community youth participating in municipally sponsored youth programs for the period January 1, 2010, to May 18, 2012.


Background checks are currently required by State law or regulation for individuals who have contact with children in camps, childcare programs, and therapeutic programs. However, this does not cover all of the youth programs that municipalities operate. A municipality can help create a safer environment for community youth through background checks in the hiring and screening of all individuals associated with the municipalities’ youth programs. The eight municipalities included in this audit offered a range of youth program activities to more than 409,000 residents.

Key Finding

  • Seven of the eight municipalities we audited failed to conduct background checks on all of the individuals who deliver their youth program services. Only the Town of Clifton Park annually screened all program personnel against the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Sex Offender Registry and other resources. Two municipalities (Town of Manlius and the City of New Rochelle) only screened personnel providing programs where the State mandates screening, because they believe the application process itself is a deterrent. The remaining five municipalities performed some screening, but did not do it consistently or did not document the date and results of the screening process. Fortunately, our tests of the 1,994 individuals who delivered youth program services in these municipalities did not identify any persons with sex offender or significant criminal histories.

Key Recommendation

  • Conduct background checks for all employees, volunteers, and contractors involved in youth programs.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236