Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 across Illinois, allowing private schools to have access to national criminal records and information of potential employees. Until now, only Illinois Public schools had been allowed to receive this information from the FBI. This act makes Illinois the first state in the nation to offer federal criminal history information to private schools for the purpose of employment screening.
"Whether your children go to public or private schools, you want to make sure they will be safe and protected from dangerous individuals," said Blagojevich. "I'm proud that today Illinois becomes the first state in the nation to implement this law at private schools, allowing these institutions to go through federal background checks for potential employees."
On March 7, Blagojevich submitted a letter to the FBI requesting Illinois be permitted to implement this law at the state level. Illinois public schools have historically been authorized to receive national criminal history record information from the FBI pursuant to the Illinois School Code. However, federal law has prohibited private entities from receiving the same data.
"Implementation of the Adam Walsh Act is a milestone for Illinois," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "Children attending private schools are now afforded the same level of protection through criminal record check screening as children attending public schools. It also reinforces our commitment to providing a safe learning environment for all students."
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on the 25th anniversary of the abduction of Adam Walsh from a shopping mall in Florida on July 27, 1981. Adam was found murdered 16 days after his abduction and the perpetrator of the crime has yet to be brought to justice.
The Illinois State Police has developed processing procedures, user's agreements, informational brochures, and training sessions as part of the Adam Walsh Act. Private schools seeking to conduct a FBI national criminal history records check pursuant to the Act can contact the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification at 815-740-5175.
In his letter to the FBI, Gov. Blagojevich wrote:
"As Chief Executive for the state of Illinois, I have authorized the Illinois State Police to request access to the FBI criminal history record information pursuant to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. I would like to request that the FBI CJIS Division assign an ORI number to the Illinois State Police, Bureau of Identification in order to facilitate the submission of fingerprint based criminal history records to the FBI pursuant to this Act. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act will help protect children in Illinois through increased screenings of individuals placed in the public trust."