Bill Bearing Beau Biden's Name and Legacy Signed into Law - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bill Bearing Beau Biden's Name and Legacy Signed into Law

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Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Tuesday signed a bill into law strengthening background check requirements. (Photo: WBOC) Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Tuesday signed a bill into law strengthening background check requirements. (Photo: WBOC)

WILMINGTON, Del. (WBOC)- The legacy of Beau Biden was carried on Tuesday through a Delaware bill signed into law that strengthens background check requirements for staff that work with children, most prominently camps and similar youth programs.

Work on what became known as the "Beau Biden Child Protection Act" started while Biden was still in office and continued after he left. But the bill itself wasn't introduced until after his death, and before its introduction, it was given his name.

With Biden's widow, Hallie, and his sister, Ashley, at his side, Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill into law Tuesday morning, and made a pledge to them.

"I want to use this to really just make a public commitment to you on behalf of all of us that we will do everything we can to carry forward his work," Markell said.

"We all know Beau worked so hard," said Hallie after the signing. "He would be honored and proud. So, thank you all."

Biden died in late May following a long battle with brain cancer. As the state memorialized him, many people spoke of his passion for protecting children.

The bill with his name on it does three things. In addition to requiring background checks for people working at camps and similar youth programs, it sets a background check baseline for all child-serving entities and makes independent schools follow them or inform parents if they will not.

"Doing background check requirements for people who are going to be alone with and in contact with children seems like a very basic item that people ought to expect and that we ought to be able to provide," said Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families Secretary Jennifer Ranji. "I think that is something that is consistent with what Beau put forward and cared about."

Patricia Dailey Lewis, with the Delaware Department of Justice, said there were discussions about the need for background check changes starting in the spring of 2013. She read part of what Biden himself said a news conference at the time.

"We may assume children have built in networks of trust and safety in their families, schools, churches and summer camp activities," she read. "But the sad fact is children know their abusers in 90 percent of cases. That's why it's up to the community as a whole to be vigilant, educated and ready to take action."

State Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, said not only is this bill an important tribute to Biden's work in general to protect kids, but specifically the work Biden and so many others did following the the horror of the case involving former Lewes pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley, who is serving life in prison after being convicted of raping multiple young patients. 

"What we can continue to do, what this bill does very clearly and very well, is set preventive measures to make sure this doesn't happen again," Lopez  said.

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