Avoid Summertime Blues and Conduct Volunteer Background Checks
While winter weather procrastinates in some parts of the country and others experience warmer than usual springs, the pull of summer is in full effect. Across the country thousands of school age children will be thrust into the void that can be summer break. Certainly weeks long family vacations can fill parts of the summer void but desperate parents, especially those with two-income families, will look to various kinds of camps to keep the little ones occupied.
Summer camps are filled with a wide variety of activities, locations, and possibilities. From weeklong sleepaway camps to localized day camps, children of all ages will find something to do.
For parents the concern may turn to those individuals who interact with their children. Many camps rely heavily on volunteers who prove invaluable to the successful operation of a summer camp.
Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states: “Any individual that works with an at-risk individual, either youth or elderly, should be background checked, regardless if it is a volunteer or paid position.”
In Massachusetts local government is facing pressure to expand background screening for volunteers and has developed plans to implement expansion.
From the Eagle Tribune (Apr. 12, 18):
Workers at summer camps, preschools and day care centers that get federal grants may soon need to be fingerprinted and subjected to national criminal background checks.
A plan filed by Gov. Charlie Baker expands background check procedures for the Department of Early Education and Care to comply with new federal rules, which require a check on the National Sex Offender Registry. (1)
Almeida states: “Background screening is an invaluable tool to assist Camp Program managers in protecting children from potential predators.”
Often a well-defined and well-publicized pre-volunteer or employment background check can prove a first line of defense against predators.”
“Organizations that take the extra step with a thorough volunteer background check are providing that line in the sand against potential malfeasance. Often understanding that a camp performs background checks on its volunteers is enough of a deterrent to give a predator pause before pursuing a volunteer role,” opines Almeida.
From the American Camp Association’s website:
Performing criminal background checks on the people who will be working with the children in your care is not only a standard of the American Camp Association (ACA); it is your obligation to the families that have entrusted you with their kids. (2)
Almeida concludes: “Ultimately a best practice remains for all summer camps and related organizations to conduct thorough pre-volunteer or pre-employment background checks. A background check can potentially act as a first line of defense against would-be predators. Further, organizations should work with a well-qualified third-party background screening agency to develop screening options.”
As summer inches near parents will begin the search for viable summer camps to occupy children during the long months. Regardless of a sleepaway camp or local day camp, volunteers and employees should be thoroughly vetted and background checked in order to protect at-risk populations.
CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is a third-party background screening company that can assist any organization or group with background screening of employed or volunteer individuals. With access to numerous current and robust databases, as well as to county court records, CriminalBackgroundRecords.com can provide the most current, up-to-date, and reliable information available.
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