Discovery Communications is in a lot of hot water as one of its star shows, “19 Kids and Counting,” which airs on TLC, struggles to recover from a child molestation scandal. Last week a magazine uncovered that one of the ‘stars’ of the show had been investigated on numerous sexual assault complaints, several of which involved his own sisters.

The point of us bringing this up on ActiveCare isn’t to add to the controversy. Why it’s important to mention in this venue is that reality TV is one of the chief industries that struggles to find its footing with background checks. As this FoxNews.com report shows, standards vary among networks who are charged with vetting the people they allow onto their shows, and ensuring the people whom the ‘stars’ of the shows come into contact with.

Other industries have also struggled, or are currently struggling, with deciding who, really, needs a background check. Active Screening experts recommend that everyone be background checked – either as an employment requisite or to simply screen yourself to find any red flags that you feel need to be corrected.

Here is a look at some other unlikely professions that require (or might soon require) a background check:

Reality TV Stars – Regardless if you’re a celebrity chef or a Teen Mom, most television networks are smartening up and scrutinizing their talent before allowing them on air. “19 Kids and Counting” notwithstanding, MTV even puts its stars, and anyone who connects closely to them in real life, under the microscope. Here’s what Teen Mom OG co-executive producer Larry Musnik has to say about it:

“We are very careful to do background checks and know what’s going on in a person’s history and not be surprised to the best of our ability,” Larry said when asked about Amber Portwood‘s much-older fiancé, Matt Baier. “We are checking and asking and doing that due diligence all the time,” he continues. “We want to be sure that these people are with them because of the relationship, not because of the TV camera.”

Referees – It may come as a shock to you, but many referees are not screened before stepping onto the pitch or court. Refs who are standing right next to your little gal or guy in shinguards might have criminal records or even be a registered sex offender and no one is the wiser.


This has been a huge issue in Massachusetts where several refs who reported for duty at Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association games were exposed at having criminal histories. After two years, the state is finally taking action and will begin requiring 8,000 high school refs to undergo criminal background checks.

This Patriot Ledger article reports thatbeginning in the 2015 fall sports season, passing a background check will be a requirement for anyone who officiates school sporting events in the state. Massachusetts joins 27 other states in adopting the policy.”

Referees will be required to pay for their own background checks, which will run about $40. Check out Protect Youth Sports, an Active Screening company, for more information on the importance of screening coaches, refs and volunteers in youth sports leagues.

Volunteer Firefighters – We’ve written extensively on the importance of volunteer screening before, but never have we

touched on volunteer firefighters. It seems Pennsylvania is beating a lot of folks to the punch.

The new background check requirements are part of Pennsylvania’s larger child protection law that went into effect at the start of the year. The state’s volunteer firefighters will have to pass at least two criminal background checks to begin work. Volunteer firefighters fall within the confines of the law that states that people who provide care, supervision or guidance to children or have routine interaction with kids must get two $10 in-state criminal background checks and must renew them every three years.

What do you think are some of the strangest professions that require background checks? We’d love to hear from you. Tweet us here!

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