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.

Important Changes/Updates to AB506 – September 26, 2022

AB 2669 Delays ‘Effective Date’  for LiveScan Requirement:
AB 2669 pushes back the compliance/requirement date for the LiveScan background checks to be put in place until January 1, 2024. This only applies to organizations that did not previously require administrators, employees, or regular volunteers to undergo LiveScan background checks.

In short, the California legislature learned that California Youth Service Organizations needed a longer timeframe to accommodate the newly required search. AB 2669 allows Youth Service Organizations to plan for the administrative and financial challenges related to AB506 compliance.

Two-Adult Rule:
AB2669 removes the requirement for the “presence of at least two mandated reporters” in programs providing one-to-one mentoring to youth. Not surprisingly, this modification was requested by Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organizational model significantly impacted by the two-adult requirement. Other entities challenged by the two-adult requirement include youth counseling programs and religious organizations having one-to-one interaction in preparation for religious rituals and rites (i.e. Confirmations, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs) and youth counseling programs.

In short, AB2669 says this: if an organization has a program (or program element) involving one-to-one mentoring, the two-adult requirement may be set aside IF the organization maintains regular contact with all parties involved (volunteers, parents or guardians), and has clearly implemented reporting policies, comprehensive screening, and effective training.

This mini-recording provides a deeper explanation of AB2669. Click the play button below, then click on Part 3: CA AB 2669 to view the video. 

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: Don’t let LiveScan be all you do. We strongly recommend you keep any existing background check program in place in addition to the Live Scan requirement. Particularly a background check program that searches outside of California and includes a sex offender registry information. 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.I. has underwriting requirements regarding sexual misconduct prevention and limits of coverage upon offer of binding or renewing coverage. The introduction of CA AB506 has not changed or altered these underwriting requirements.

Read AB506 FAQ