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Clifton Park leads way in screening staffers for youth programs

Parents who send their children to Clifton Park youth programs can be assured that the staffers are law-abiding citizens.

A state Comptroller's Office study of eight municipalities showed Clifton Park was the only one that meets state regulations on background checks for people involved in youth programs.

The town actually exceeds the recommendations, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.

"We found that seven of the eight municipalities we audited failed to conduct background checks on all of the individuals who deliver their youth program services," DiNapoli said in a statement. "Only the town of Clifton Park annually screened all program personnel against the Division of Criminal Justice Services' Sex Offender Registry and other resources."

The audit covered programs from Jan. 1, 2010 through May 18, 2012.

The other municipalities were the towns of Amherst, Manlius, Seneca Falls and the cities of Binghamton, Middletown, New Rochelle and Utica.

"Our parks and recreation department has a long-standing commitment to screening all individuals who work with residents in town programs," Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said. "We're proud to know that Clifton Park stands alone as a model among municipalities in New York state."

Clifton Park goes above the recommendations by also requiring contractors to prove that all subcontractors have been screened.

The town Parks and Recreation Department hires hundreds of summer recreation employees and serves more than 2,700 children in those programs.

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