Volunteer Screening – A Necessary, Important Investment

What is the most important thing when it comes to your child(ren)’s school?


STEM program?

Athletic future?

Quality teachers?

Anti-bullying effort?

Sure, these all rank up there. But what about safety? We don’t know about you but we think our children’s safety should be paramount whenever they enter a school’s campus. After all, they spend critical hours of their day there, away from us, their parents who are supposed to protect and love them and keep them safe from any harm.

When we send our kids to school we expect that they’ll be surrounded, engaged and motivated by people who value the same things we value as parents. But that isn’t always the case. Our children come into contact with more than just the professional educators, counselors and administrators that a school district employs. In many cases, school districts rely on a roster of volunteers to help them maintain their goals.

The reasons why districts rely on volunteers vary (overcrowding, budget cuts, consolidation) AND, unfortunately, so do districts’ policies on performing background checks on these volunteers. In many cases, districts don’t require background checks on volunteers until something horrible happens. Like this:

*A tutor at Hutchinson High School in Alaska was arrested and is awaiting trial after being accused of sexually abusing a student multiple times.

*A parent says she found out a teacher at a Montanta school was a registered sex offender.

Here are some of the most common reasons why districts don’t run background checks on volunteers and why they should:

They think fingerprinting is enough. A fingerprint background check reveals personal data like your birth, names, addresses, employment and arrests. An Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint check will provide your criminal conviction history. Fingerprints alone, however, don’t paint the whole picture and can have incomplete or inaccurate information. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS, of which we’re an accredited agency) reports that 1.8 million workers who were subjected to FBI fingerprint checks in 2012 had faulty or incomplete information in their returns. Plus, a fingerprint check doesn’t include current reports on a person’s use of illegal substances. Only a drug test would prove that.

They think they can’t afford it. What is more costly – performing a background check on a volunteer or getting sued because a volunteer, who, it was later discovered had a criminal record, hurt a child? We think you know the answer. But just in case districts still blame the budget pinch for not conducting background checks, here’s a creative solution that the St. Cloud (MN) school district uses.

They think hiring a background screening agency is risky. The professionals that work in the background screening industry, especially those that are accredited by the NAPBS, are subject to intense scrutiny and rigorous regulations at the local, state and federal level. Aside from hiring managers and HR professionals, there is probably no one else more attuned to the legal rights of prospective and current employees than a background screener. They are fully compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, work in an industry enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and understand the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mission. Background screening agencies, are by definition Credit Reporting Agency’s (CRAs), and value the accuracy of the information that they provide to their clients. In fact, their reputations and livelihoods depend on it.

They feel that one-size-fits-all. One fingerprint check won’t provide the necessary information you need to decide if a volunteer or employee is a safe fit for your school. It simply isn’t comprehensive enough when you consider that a school district may need volunteers in a range of positions from bus monitors to coaches, room advisors and mail stuffers. That’s why working with a background screening agency like Active Screening is the best, and safest, solution because we have comprehensive screening solutions that can be tailored to suit your needs. For example, volunteers working in a district’s bus department may need to be screened with our transportation solution or volunteers helping out with flu season might need to be screened with our healthcare solution.

Active Screening believes that we need to do everything we can to keep our kids safe. And, we want to make it easier for school districts to incorporate background checks for every volunteer. There’s no more excuses. For that reason, we have developed an online consultation solution, so you can select the right volunteer background check. Recommendations include criminal background checks, as well as a ”true” 50 states sex offender registry search, with several states that must be searched by ”name-only” as some states do not provide date of birth on the offenders. A social security number verification is included to verify the correct name and date of birth of the applicant and to alert you to possible mismatches between the name provided by the applicant and the name registered to the social security number. A mismatch could indicate that the applicant is attempting to hide his/her true identity.

Let’s all work together to keep our kids safe. Contact us today to learn more about screening opportunities for your volunteers.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Clinical Services, Criminal Records, DOT Employers Clinical Services, Driver’s Records, General, Human Resources, Identity & Credit, Industry Solutions 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

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

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.