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SATURDAY, MAY 9, 1998 AT 10:30 A.M. EDT202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Clinton today announced the release of new guidelines to better protect children, the elderly and the disabled from caretaker abuse and neglect. Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working with Children, the Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities in Need of Support, published by the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), offers practical help for screening potential caregivers and recommends development of statewide screening and background check policies.

"All too often we hear how the most vulnerable in our society are victimized by those who are supposed to care for them," said OJJDP Administrator Shay Bilchik. "These guidelines are an important step to help us detect potential abusers before they can do harm."

The guidelines help different types of organizations screen caregivers by focusing on variables such as the type of contact the caregiver would have with the client, whether the care is supervised or unsupervised, and the age and condition of the client.

"The best screening methods for a juvenile mentoring program are not necessarily the best for a nursing home," added Bilchik. "The guidelines will help different organizations tailor screening procedures to best meet their needs and protect their clients."

The guidelines also provide recommendations for how states can strengthen their efforts by:

The guidelines feature an overview of current federal and state laws. They also offer specific suggestions for screening applicants for caregiving positions, including model forms that organizations can use as part of a job application process. In addition, the guidelines provide helpful information for monitoring and preventing abuse after an individual is hired.

The 1994 Crime Law amended the National Child Protection Act of 1993 directing the Justice Department to develop these guidelines, which were prepared by the American Bar Association (ABA) under a grant from OJJDP. The ABA's Center on Children and the Law sought input from federal, state, and local agencies and organizations, including the Justice

Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and OJJDP's Missing and Exploited Children's Division in developing the guidelines.

Copies of Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working with Children, the Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities in Need of Support and information about other OJJDP publications, programs and conferences are available through the OJJDP web site at and from OJJDP's Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, Box 6000, Rockville, Maryland 20857. The toll-free number is 1-800/638-8736.

Information about other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

Additional information about the ABA is available at

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OJJDP 98119

After hours contact: Adam Spector, 202/516-6800