Public Notices and Press Releases

NJ Department of Health to Enhance Youth Camp Safety Standards

Sweeping Revisions Proposed for Statewide Youth Camp Regulations to Bolster Child Protection Measures

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Health has announced its intention to overhaul the administrative code governing youth camp safety standards, marking a significant stride towards fortifying the health and safety of children attending youth camps across the state. The proposed amendments, repeals, and new rules under N.J.A.C. 8:25 aim to set robust public health standards, ensuring a safer environment for young campers.

Central to the proposed revisions is the elimination of the term "private" from N.J.A.C. 8:25-1.2(a), a move designed to underscore the applicability of the regulations to all youth camps, irrespective of their private or municipal ownership. This clarification stems from the Department's interpretation of N.J.S.A. 26:12-1 et seq., reflecting legislative intent to encompass all youth camp operations under these safety standards.

In a bid to enhance public safety, another pivotal change would mandate youth camp owners and operators to perform fingerprint-based criminal history record checks through the New Jersey State Police. This requirement aims to significantly improve the accuracy of criminal background screenings, ensuring that individuals with a history of criminal activity are appropriately vetted before working with children.

Additionally, the Department proposes updates to governmental office names, addresses, outdated internet links, and reference materials, further modernizing and streamlining the regulatory framework governing youth camps.

Stakeholders and the public are invited to contribute to the rule-making process by submitting written comments. Feedback can be sent electronically by April 20, 2024, through the Department's e-comments system or via regular mail to the attention of Kimberly E. Jenkins, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance. The Department emphasizes the importance of public participation in shaping policies that safeguard the well-being of New Jersey's youngest residents.

Access to the official proposal is facilitated through free online resources provided by LexisNexis and the New Jersey Department of Health's website, ensuring transparency and widespread availability of the proposed changes.

This comprehensive regulatory update signifies the New Jersey Department of Health's dedication to enhancing the safety and health standards of youth camps, affirming its commitment to the protection and well-being of children throughout the state.

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