It’s imperative that any group, organization or agency who caters to youngsters and who relies on volunteers, runs a thorough screening procedure that includes background checks on those volunteers. Knowing where to turn for information on this complex topic, though, can leave you with more questions than answers.
- How do you find a good screening agency?
- Do you need to work with one who has experience screening volunteers?
- Am I required by law to screen my volunteers?
- How much money will you need to allocate to this?
- Does everyone really need to be screened?
- Where can I turn for more information?
Luckily, we have the answers to a lot of these questions. Let’s dive in.
How do I find a good screening agency? Do I need to work with one who has experience screening volunteers? You might think a simple Google search would turn up the results that you need. Yes, you will get a healthy dose of screening agencies, but not all screening agencies are created equal. We recommend finding an agency who is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). These screening agencies have gone through a rigorous approval process to earn this seal of approval and must have an impeccable track record in customer service, correct information, and tight turnaround time. Active Screening recently earned its accreditation by NAPBS. Also, do some research on your own to find out if any NAPBS-accredited agencies specialize in youth organization volunteer screening. Active Screening has customizable programs that can suit church groups, youth sports programs, non-profits, and virtually any other organization that relies on volunteers. Check out our online consultation service to see how we can help you.
Am I required by law to screen my volunteers? Does everyone really need to be screened? Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia require background checks for anyone working in contact with children, but not all of these states mandate comprehensive background checks. One of the most important parts of a comprehensive background check is the criminal history check which should include a Social Security Number and name verification, sex offender registry search, national criminal database check, a county or statewide criminal search. Still, there isn’t a standard screening protocol that organizations adhere to, reports the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). Nonetheless, NAYS says “the vast majority of public entities (park and recreation agencies) are doing some form of background checks on their volunteers.” So the lesson here is it’s better to be safe than sorry, regardless if there is a law or not. After all, it’s our children that we’re trying to protect.
How much money will I need to allocate to this? Background checks are affordable. Because there are so many solutions that can be tailored to your needs, you will find a package that is cost-effective. Or, you can go this route. But we urge you to consider the damage that would be done to a child if he/she were victimized, your reputation ruined, and you find yourself embroiled in a costly lawsuit. Pay for the background checks. It will protect our children and protect your reputation.
Where can I turn for more information? There are so many valuable resources available online to turn to learn more about background checks for youth organizations. Here’s a list of our favorites:
National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) – a non-profit advocacy group promoting safe sports for kids
Protect Youth Sports – a leading background screening agency serving youth serving organizations
Darkness to Light – national organization working to end child sexual abuse
USA Football – official youth football development partner of the NFL
National Council of Youth Sports – advocacy group devoted to protecting kids in sports
Still have questions? We have answers. Give us a call or email us today.