Included among the child protection laws are, for example, state and federal laws that give the public access to information about convicted sex offenders. In addition to these federal statutes, laws in a number of states require background checks for volunteers who work with children. The primary methods for screening volunteers are checks through state and federal criminal records repositories and commercial background screening.
Either method, as discussed below, has both advantages and shortcomings. There are several options. Almost certainly, a volunteer background check will include a criminal history check. To find out whether an applicant or volunteer has a criminal past, a nonprofit organization may have access to state and federal criminal history repositories. Organizations may also employ professional background screening companies. Many commercial companies that perform employee screening have established programs specifically for nonprofit organizations seeking to check volunteers.
There is, in addition, a great deal of personal information available through the Internet. Sex offender registries, for example, are readily available online.
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Every state has an agency that is the official state repository for criminal records. The responsible agency, as designated by state law, receives and maintains records of arrests and criminal convictions from local jurisdictions throughout the state. The NCIC database includes records of federal crimes as well as criminal record information submitted by participating states.
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- Background Checks | Partners in Education.
This database is available for non-law enforcement purposes if access is granted by a state or federal law. Non-law enforcement purposes generally relate to standards for background screening for certain jobs or licenses. As a prospective volunteer, may I request my own records from state or federal criminal records repositories?
States allow you to obtain copies of your own records. Procedures vary from state to state. Some states may require that you submit fingerprints along with your request. The FBI has its own procedures for access. Visit its website to learn about your right to access your own FBI records. However, FBI records you order on your own may be of limited value if you plan to submit the results to your volunteer organization.
Finally, a Simple Way to Become Safe Sport Authorization Act Compliant
Nonprofit organizations may also turn to commercial background screening companies. Organizations may seek out commercial vendors, especially when screening beyond a criminal history check is required. Commercial background screeners may run credit checks, Social Security number checks, DMV checks, and much more. These companies generally have a variety of other data sources not available through government websites.
Organizations may also find that commercial screeners are faster and cheaper than screening through state repositories and the FBI. Some commercial vendors offer bulk rates or reduced fees for volunteer screening.
Onboard Volunteers Faster
Many professional screening companies long involved in screening employees have established separate programs for screening volunteers. Some commercial screeners even specialize in background screening for certain kinds of nonprofits such as ministries.
A number of companies, called aggregators, assemble criminal records information from courts and other publicly available data sources. By collecting and combining these data sources, commercial screening companies have amassed databases consisting of millions of criminal records files. Identification methods. An FBI check is a fingerprint-based check, while commercial vendors conduct name-based checks.
Reputable vendors rely on identifiers in addition to name, such as date of birth, present and past addresses, and Social Security number. A false positive may also result from a name-based check if a subject is the victim of criminal identity theft. Commercial vendors are also facing increasing challenges to verifying points of identity. Some courts and other public records sources, for privacy reasons, have excluded the SSN or date of birth from general access.
Data quality and completeness.
Inconsistencies and lack of uniformity in state criminal records repositories mean FBI files may not give a clear, complete picture of a criminal history. Offenses reported may vary widely from state to state. Collection and processing of background checks. We can contract with your organization to collect and process all background check forms then bill your organization according to the number of processed background checks. We can also have your volunteers pay us directly. We can provide a volume discount if you have over 25 volunteers.
Information on cleared staff and volunteers.
Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations Background Screening Portal
Partners in Education will provide information on cleared staff and volunteers as soon as it is available. We will also provide the names of those who are not cleared for volunteer work to ensure your clients are protected. Just over half of organizations undertake current state-county searches and nationwide-multistate database searches. Other criminal record searches include prior address county-state searches conducted by One in four organizations requires fingerprinting for some or all their volunteers. But, according to our survey, only one-third of organizations use fingerprinting as a component of volunteer screening.
We would like to hear your opinions on the recently released report! Basil helps nonprofits and volunteers engage better with one another by posting impactful tips and sharing stories on VolunteerMatch. I am new to the Volunteer Coordinator Community. How would you word background checks and drug testing to volunteers?