Lopez named to governor’s task force created to help protect children

February 9, 2014
Ernie Lopez

Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, was appointed today to serve on a task force mandated to conduct a thorough investigation of Delaware laws and regulations related to background checks for people working with children.

Lopez is one of just four lawmakers assigned to the Delaware Criminal Background and Child Protection Registry Checks Task Force, established last month under an executive order by Gov. Jack Markell.

The panel will issue recommendations on how the state’s background checks system can best protect children in schools and other settings.

“This is a very important task force and one that is needed now more than ever in establishing best practices in order to protect our most vulnerable populations,” said Lopez. “When I was elected to office, I know that the majority of people in the 6th district recognized that my professional experience in this area would be a benefit if the opportunity ever arose to make meaningful changes.”

Lopez is currently a specialist with the University of Delaware, working with children in the 4-H unit of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He’s also a member of the General Assembly’s Senate Education Committee and a parent of two children in Delaware public schools.

“Today, I’m proud to be able to answer that call and serve our governor and all of us here in the Cape Region and around the state as a member of this task force,” he said.

The task force will examine who must receive background checks as a condition of working with children and which types of background checks should be used. It will also consider whether background checks should be required for camp/holiday/school break employees and volunteers and employees and volunteers at private and non-state operated schools.

Among other things, the panel will also issue recommendations on how to make the background checks more efficient. A final report is due by the end of the year.