Should Social Workers Be Screened?

Wisconsin issued nearly 40,000 licenses last year for social workers and other occupations regulated by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Guess how many of those applicants were subject to a criminal background check? 
According to this article, very few people know the actual number because Wisconsin runs on an honor system for these workers. That means the only time DSPS conducts a background check on an applicant is if the person admits having a criminal record or faces a complaint.

Ex-con Earns Social Worker License

The issue is being brought to light by the Wisconsin chapter of the National Association of Social Workers after its executive director read a troubling report about a convicted serial rapist and bank robber who earned his master’s degree in counseling while in prison, but who was later licensed in 1993 by Wisconsin. As of earlier this year the man was also a licensed clinical social worker before letting his license lapse.

The article reports that, “It is unclear whether Wisconsin regulators knew about his criminal past, since the state did not — and still does not — routinely conduct a criminal-background check before issuing a social worker’s license.”

The state chapter of NASW is now asking a state board that oversees licenses of social workers, therapists and others who work with vulnerable portions of the population (like children and the elderly) to consider screening applicants. reports each state has different licensing requirements, and some states, like Michigan, Indiana and Maine, require criminal background checks on licensing applicants. Click here to find out the background check requirements in each state for licensing applicants.

Why Screening Matters for Social Workers

Active Screening is paying close attention to the developments of Wisconsin’s examination of its social worker background
check policy, as well as any other state’s who are taking on this important topic. Screening healthcare workers and anyone involved in the social services arm of that industry, is crucial to keeping us safe. It’s especially important to protect those who often don’t have strong voices for themselves – children, the elderly and those struggling with developmental delays or mental illnesses.

But screening needs to be conducted correctly. The complexity of healthcare regulations and challenges of meeting the demand for background checks can be costly. Active Screening can help you make the right hiring decisions to meet all mandates.

We work closely with your healthcare organization to:

• Comply with federal regulations

• Protect patient safety and privacy

• Manage risks and minimize liabilities

We specialize in developing screening solutions based on the position and policy of your organization. We can help you create packages for screening volunteers and employees. Click here to see our full-range of customizable screening options that can give you the security and flexibility you need to make important hiring decisions.

We Want to Hear From You!

Are you a social worker? Did you have to undergo a background check to earn your state license? How did you feel about the process? Do you think it’s a necessary part of the hiring process? Write down your thoughts below or Tweet us here!

Spread the word, too. We’d love to hear from more of our readers – or first time visitors – about what questions or thoughts you have about the screening industry.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Clinical Services, Criminal Records, Human Resources, Industry Solutions, News, References & Credentialing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

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Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.