Burzichelli Bill to Better Protect Children from Sex Offenders During Emergencies Signed into Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrat John Burzichelli sponsored to better protect children from sex offenders during emergencies has been signed into law.
“This is basic common sense – we need to make sure children aren’t placed in emergency shelters with sex offenders,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland).
Megan’s Law already required county prosecutors to assess a sex offender’s risk of re-offense and categorize that offender as a low, moderate or high risk.
The records and files containing the information and documentation used to make this assessment are available to law enforcement and authorized to be released to the Department of Children and Families for use in carrying out its responsibilities.
The law (A-2131) allows these records to be made available to the Department of Human Services and county and municipal welfare agencies for the exclusive use in placing homeless families and persons in emergency shelters, which include but are not limited to hotels and motels.
“We provide community notification to protect our children when they’re living in their homes, so those protections should absolutely extend to emergency housing, which many families have had to sadly rely on recently following Irene and Sandy,” Burzichelli said. “Let’s not make life any more difficult for these families. Let’s do what we can to better protect their children.”
The bill passed the Assembly 75-0 in December and the Senate 37-0 in February.