Waltham, MA (PRWEB) February 18, 2014
After the holidays is the perfect time to review a volunteer background screening process. In Delaware the Governor has ordered a review of state regulated volunteer screening and Florida continues the process of unifying the volunteer background screening process.
"Continued diligence in the screening process of volunteers is critical. Today, tomorrow, in five years: Background checks will remain a key component in protecting our at-risk populations. The best practice is a continuous review of policy and law," Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states.
Across the United States hundreds of organizations rely on thousands of volunteers and the work they conduct with at-risk populations, such as youth or the elderly. One of the larger organizations that utilize volunteers are schools, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom.
"A thorough background check is critical in protecting at-risk populations, specifically children. School districts large and small, public and private, should conduct in-depth screenings to assist in protecting children,”Almeida stated.
Recently Delaware Governor Jack Markell ordered a review of state laws that recommend when a background check is considered necessary for those that work with children.
As posted at DoverPost.com (Jan. 14, '14’)
Among the specific policies the task force will examine include: whether criminal background checks and child protection registry checks should be required for camp/holiday/school break employees and volunteers; whether criminal background checks and child protection registry checks should be required for employees and volunteers at private and non-state operated schools; whether a consolidated background check system, to include criminal, child protection, sex offender and adult abuse registry is feasible.
Volunteer background screening can be complicated in terms of what reports can and cannot be used. Criminal histories have recently come into question in regards to use. Further, there is often a question of who can be background checked, specific to volunteers.
In Florida a school district’s effort to create a streamlined background screening program for all levels of volunteers has stalled.
An article in Hernando Today (Jan. 16, 2014) highlights the discrepancy of screening stringency at different levels:
The district's policy on criminal background checks for volunteers - parents and non-parents alike who participate in a range of activities from supervised class visits to unsupervised chaperones on overnight trips - is historically more stringent than that for contractors who might have little or no student contact. http://hernandotoday.com/he/list/news/new-policy-on-school-volunteer-background-checks-stalled-20140116/
Hernando Today also highlights discrepancies over what reports to use.
…volunteers in Florida school districts are only screened for criminal histories logged in the state of Florida, and not other states, which is done for certified instructors. http://hernandotoday.com/he/list/news/new-policy-on-school-volunteer-background-checks-stalled-20140116/
In the best efforts to protect at-risk populations, specifically children, organizations should construct the broadest reaching, most thorough screening program possible.
“A volunteer background screening program should be uniform in scope and reach, and cover local, state, and federal public records. Thoroughness is a key to successful volunteer background checks,” states Adam Almeida.
A thorough and broad-reaching volunteer background check can also act as a deterrent. Not only are convicted individuals identified through a background check, potential predators may be scared away by the prospect of a thorough background check.
“Reviewing law and policy combined with continuous diligence in conducting thorough background checks of volunteers must be an on-going process. Volunteer organizations of all sizes, whether they are a part of a school district or independent, should conduct background checks on their volunteers.” Almeida states.