Volunteer Screening – How Safe is Your Child’s Caretaker?

We place an immense amount of trust in the person or people responsible for caring for our children when we’re not around. The list of people our kids come in contact with on a daily basis is pretty big, too, when you think about it.

  • Bus Drivers
  • Day Care Employees
  • Before or After School Monitors
  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • Extracurricular advisors (piano teachers, church youth group leader)
  • Tutors

But, what do you really know about the person caring for your child? If it’s an employee  or a volunteer working through a school district, business or other agency, you probably expect that they’ve run a thorough hiring process that includes a background check on their employees. If it’s someone whom you’ve directly hired, you hopefully asked for their references and maybe placed a phone call or two.

Is that enough? Not even close.

Consider this:

  • Roughly one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday
  • About 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their victims
  • Approximately 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family trusts.

*Source: Darkness to Light

Protecting our children from predators is one of our most important jobs as parents. Sometimes we want to bury our heads in the sand and pretend this isn’t the reality of the world we live in but we know we can’t do that. We need to ask questions. Demand change. Take proactive steps. Here’s what you need to know to help keep our kids safe.

Ask about hiring practices. Every reputable business or agency should have a firm hiring policy and onboarding procedure that every volunteer and employee undergoes. A background check by an NAPBS-accredited agency like Active Screening should be one of the safeguards they have in place to ensure they’re hiring quality, trustworthy and safe volunteers and employees. We understand that background checks are not an end-all to ensuring a safe workplace but they are a piece of the comprehensive puzzle that needs to fit together before someone can join an organization. If you don’t know if an organization screens their volunteers and/or employees, ask. If they say they don’t, demand that they do.

Don’t accept ‘it’s too expensive’ as an excuse. Nothing is more maddening than being told an organization’s bottom line is more precious than your child. Budgets are tight, especially for groups that heavily rely on volunteers like non-profits, youth sports and church programs. Money, however, is NEVER a valid reason to ignore your child’s safety. The fact is that plenty of reputable screening agencies offer affordable and customizable options for organizations that have volunteers and employees who work closely with children. That’s part of why we do what we do at Active Screening. We believe in keeping people safe and protecting your brand. Background checks are an integral part of this equation. Another way of approaching this dilemma is to ask volunteers to pay for their own background check. The theory is that you’ll only get people who are really committed to your cause AND who have a clean background.

If you hire an independent contractor, hire a screening agency. Reference checks only go so far. After all, someone who works on a for-hire basis isn’t going to include any questionable references, right? Then it’s up to you as parents to take charge of your child’s safety. The best way to do this is to team up with a screening agency who understands the laws pertaining to background checks. Compliance laws are quite complicated and can vary at the local, state and federal levels. You don’t want to get caught in a lawsuit because you attempted to conduct your own background check. At Active Screening, it’s our job to know these laws and ensure we’re following all the various guidelines that protect your privacy and the privacy of the person you want to employee.

Take it to the leaders. Our expectations as parents often far exceed the state and federal laws that should exist to protect our children. Case in point: 49 states and the District of Columbia require background checks, but not all of these states mandate comprehensive background checks. For a complete roundup of each state’s laws click on these links:

This needs to change. Every child in every state should be afforded the same level of protection that the law can provide. Talk to your civic leaders. You can demand this change.

Feel free to reach out to us, too. We are passionate about protecting our nation’s children and we’d love to hear from you about how we can work together to increase awareness about this important issue.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Criminal Records, General, Human Resources, Identity & Credit, 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

"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.