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Volunteer Coaches Must Be Background Checked

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July 10, 2017 Return to News & Events

Volunteer Coaches Must Be Background Checked

Throughout the year children of all ages join sports teams. After-school programs cover nearly every sport and litter the country. Each day, after school, parks and gymnasiums and pools fill with youth sports teams and volunteers work with parents to guide and teach their children.

The expectation every parent demands is that their child participates in a safe, friendly environment.

Sometimes that is not the case.

Recently in Kewanee Illinois local citizens requested background checks on all park district coaches.

From (Jun. 15, 17):

Two women whose children participate in the Kewanee Park Districtís baseball teams addressed the park district board of commissioners Thursday night seeking background checks for all the park districtís coaches.

The women said they are concerned about those adults who volunteer to coach the park districtís youth teams after a baseball coach was taken into custody from a Kewanee baseball field earlier this week.(1)

While the offense the baseball coach taken into custody appears minor it did create enough concern for parents to question the overall screening process of volunteer coaches.

However, in Sullivan, MO a more serious situation occurred.

From (Jul. 06, 17):

Sullivan police arrested a 30-year old assistant coach during a Sullivan Boys Baseball Association game at Jim Bottomley Park on June 28 after identifying him as a registered sex offender.

Sex offenders are forbidden by state law from visiting parks or coaching athletic teams involving children under 17-years-old. (2)

In San Jose a swim coach was arrested for sexting underage team members.

From (Jun. 26, 17):

An assistant coach at the prominent QuickSilver Swimming club, who also trained teens with several other teams and schools in San Jose, has been arrested after police say he solicited and exchanged sexually explicit text messages and images with young swimmers and later discouraged them from talking to investigators.

Itís the second child-predator case involving a QuickSilver-affiliated employee in the past decade ó a coach for its predecessor, San Jose Aquatics, was convicted on a score of child molestation charges in 2009. There are also accusations that the swim club knew about the allegations for several months before alerting authorities. (3)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "Background screening for any individual working with at-risk populations such as the elderly and children should be mandatory."

At a minimum a typical volunteer background check may include:

  1. Sex Offender Registry
  2. Criminal History Report
  3. Department of Motor Vehicles Records

Almeida adds: "Criminal background checks protect youth as a first line of defense against potential predators. A well-known, well-advertised background check program by a youth sports organization may give pause to potential predators attempting to coach kids. It is our responsibility, as adults, to protect children in any way possible."

Ultimately, conducting a thorough volunteer background check need not be an onerous task.

Almeida concludes: "A best practice remains to background check every volunteer coming into contact with children. The cost of a background check is far less than the cost of a future." is a third-party background screening company that can assist any organization or group with background screening of employed or volunteer coaches. With access to numerous current and robust databases, as well as to county court records, can provide the most current, up-to-date, and reliable information available.





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