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President Clinton Signs
The National Child Protection Act

By Associated Press
The New York Times National
Tuesday, December 21, 1993


President Clinton signed the National Child Protection Act yesterday, attended by, from left, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, Andrew Vachss, Oprah Winfrey, ex-Illinois Governor Jim Thompson and Representative Pat Schroeder, D-Colo. The law will create a database to help track child abusers. Later, Clinton met with Mark Klaas, who pressed for harsher penalties for violent repeat offenders such as the suspect in the kidnap-slaying of his daughter, Polly.

At the signing of the National Child Protection Act, President Clinton invited Oprah Winfrey, a supporter of the legislation, to speak. Also attending were Health Secretary Donna E. Shalala and Andrew Vachss, an author and lawyer specializing in juvenile justice and child abuse. Mr. Vachss suggested the bill while a guest on Ms. Winfrey's talk show. Later, Mr. Clinton awarded grants of $50 million to 74 cities to increase the number of police officers.

At the signing of the National Child Protection Act, President Clinton invited Oprah Winfrey, a supporter of the legislation, to speak.  Also attending were Health Secretary Donna E. Shalala and Andrew Vachss, an author and lawyer specializing in juvenile justice and child abuse.  Mr. Vachss suggested the bill while a guest on Ms. Winfrey's talk show.


THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 20, 1993
FACT SHEET: THE NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION ACT

Today the President will sign the National Child Protection Act of 1993, which seeks to give parents the assurance that their children are not being cared for by criminals.

To accomplish this, the bill:

  • Establishes a national database of all indictments and convictions on child abuse and sex offense charges, violent crimes, arson, and felony drug charges.

  • Allows all businesses or organizations who employ a childcare provider to ask a state agency to check this database for all job applicants.

  • States would be required to report crime records to this database, giving highest priority to reporting child abuse crimes.

  • The bill also seeks to ensure that the rights of job applicants are protected. It establishes that reports may only be released on applicants who provide written permission for a background check to be made, and allows for background checks to be appealed.

Among those joining the President at the signing ceremony today will be actress/producer Oprah Winfrey, a survivor of child abuse who has been a vocal proponent of the legislation, which is informally known as "the Oprah Bill."

Also at the Roosevelt Room ceremony will be Andrew Vachss, the originator of the idea of a national background check, the bill's Congressional sponsors—Sen. Joseph Biden, Rep. Patricia Schroeder, and Rep. Don Edwards—and former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, who has worked with Ms. Winfrey on the legislation.

Among the organizations represented at the ceremony will be the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts USA, the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse, Children's Defense Fund, Child Welfare League of America, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, and the National Collaboration for Youth.



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