What kind of checks do we need?
Everyone should undergo a National Criminal and Sex Offender search at the bare minimum.
Pastors, key leadership and financial staff should also be searched for credit history, previous addresses, bankruptcies, liens, collections and other public information. Conducting these searches affirms the public integrity, credibility and confidence in your organization’s leadership.
Is it really that important?
Protecting the participants, children, members and guests of your organization should be a high priority. Think of the terrible consequences of just one incident.
Also remember the public is watching. Knowing you’ve done everything possible to ensure safety and security is essential to your credibility.
What about background checks for people already serving?
We’ve heard stories about the guy who says, “I’ve been working here for 10 years. Why should I need a background check?”
The key is to be consistent. Showing favoritism or assuming someone doesn’t have a past record is a huge mistake. Finding out after the fact can be devastating.
It’s also important for the policy to be approved and supported by your leadership. Some volunteers may not like it, but child safety and potential legal issues outweigh personal preferences.
*What if someone has a record?
Prevent Losses is not in position to give or offer legal advice. You should consult with legal counsel or make the decisions of what is and is not acceptable prior to beginning the process.
We do, however, offer recommendations about what other organizations are doing concerning who is disqualified or shouldn’t be placed in positions working with children or on staff. (Sample Ineligibility Guidelines)
Absolutely the most important factors are due diligence in checking and consistency in the process.