Deadline Exposé Drives Sharp Uptick In Applications For Child Performer Services Permits

State of California

The state Labor Commissioner’s office is reporting a sharp increase in the number of applications for Child Performer Services Permits since Deadline revealed that many of those who work with child actors have not obtained the permits, as is required by law.

In the first 10 days after Deadline’s story was published on April 30, the Labor Commissioner’s office received 24 applications for the permits. By contrast, only five applications had been approved and processed in the month before. “That’s definitely an increase – a quintupling,” said Paola Laverde, a public information officer for the Department of Industrial Relations, which enforces the law.

A Deadline investigation found that not a single Hollywood publicist who represents child actors had obtained a permit. Dozens of managers, acting coaches and photographers who work with child stars also failed to comply with the law, which is punishable by a year in county jail and a $10,000 fine. And yet, no one has ever been charged with breaking it. 

The law, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, was designed as one of the key safeguards to protect child actors from sexual predators, but it’s gone largely ignored and unenforced. It requires publicists, managers, acting coaches and headshot photographers who work with child actors in the state to be fingerprinted and to pass an FBI background check.

A database maintained by the state lists more than 300 valid permit holders, although more than 100 other permits have expired. Laverde said that since the law went into effect more than five years ago, no one who has applied has been denied – meaning that they’ve all passed FBI background checks.

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