Los Angeles County is considering a proposal to require screening of ice cream truck vendors and operators of other businesses that sell products to unsupervised children.
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously instructed its staff to explore regulations that would mandate fingerprinting and a criminal history report for those seeking a license for a business that serves children.
"As the ultimate safety net for our most vulnerable residents, we have a responsibility to protect our young children," said Supervisor Don Knabe, who introduced the motion.
Knabe said that vendors catering to minors tend to congregate near parks, schools and libraries, where children are often unsupervised. Without screening, "We could be unknowingly permitting dangerous individuals to come into contact with innocent children," he said.
He suggested that vendors selling to children be screened for criminal records such as molestation, sex offenses, pornography or abuse.
The board asked for a report back in 60 days listing businesses whose primary clientele is unsupervised children, along with an analysis of the additional cost and time needed to conduct background checks on vending applicants.
The county already requires background screening for some business licenses, including those involving use of explosives and weapons, and operators of adult businesses.
"By adding another level of scrutiny to the way we issue business licenses in Los Angeles County, we can do a better job of protecting our communities and keeping our children out of harm's way," Knabe said.