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Volunteer Checks: A Critical Tool in All Areas of Volunteering

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October 21, 2014 Return to News & Events

Volunteer Checks: A Critical Tool in All Areas of Volunteering

When one considers volunteering often the area of volunteering is with children.  Generally, working with children as a volunteer is conducted in the classroom assisting teachers or with after school sports. 

Volunteer background screening is a critical tool utilized by school districts to help protect children and mitigate risk.  Often parents and other volunteers are required to submit to a background check.  Volunteer background checks utilize public records and can provide important information required to make an informed decision on a given volunteer.

“Conducting a thorough and complete criminal background check on volunteers is a critical component of risk mitigation in the classroom and with children in general,” states Adam Almeida, President and CEO of  “Without the information provided by a background check individuals with inappropriate pasts may be allowed interaction with children.”

Moreover, volunteering is not always just with children.  Volunteers also work with the elderly and or disabled.  Also, volunteers can also be found within libraries and firehouses.  These individuals require background checks as well.

In Wisconsin, one community is considering the use of volunteer background checks across a broad spectrum.

From  (Aug. 11, 14)

Wisconsin Dells Mayor Brian Landers said the city’s insurance carrier, Cities and Villages Mutual Insurance Company, wanted the background checks for volunteers who drive for the city. The discussion has grown to include doing background checks for all volunteers in the city, Landers said, including library, police department and park department volunteers. (1)

Volunteer checks are not only a valuable tool in weeding out potential malfeasants, but they assist in the reduction of insurance rates.

However, there can be challenges with volunteer screening.  Often individuals balk at the idea of a background check, claiming it to be too intrusive.  Some individuals may prove reluctant to provide a social security number, but there are methods of gathering information that do not always require a SSN.  Thorough background checks can be conducted with date of birth and full, legal name.

From (Aug. 11, 14)

Library Director Cathy Borck said she had received some complaints from people saying they’d stop volunteering at the library if the background checks were implemented, but she said most of the objections were over having to share a Social Security number one more time. But if the check only requires a name and the birth day, that might change some people’s opinions, she said. (2)

Volunteer firefighters in the State of New York now face additional background checks, as well. 

From  (Aug. 11, 14)

Volunteer firefighters frequently work in the presence of vulnerable individuals, including children. This legislation will require prospective volunteer firefighters to authorize a background check for sex offense convictions if the individual wishes to proceed with his or her application. The legislation will also allow individual fire companies to determine if the prospective volunteer is eligible to become a volunteer member of the fire company if that person is found to have been convicted of a sex offense. (3)

Ultimately the purpose of a volunteer background check is to protect at-risk populations, specifically children and the elderly, and other vulnerable individuals. 

Almeida states:  “A volunteer background check may provide a barrier for some individuals from entering or attempting to participate in areas they should not be involved with.  Protecting at-risk populations is critical, and a thorough volunteer background check helps significantly.” is a third-party background screening company that assists organizations and companies large and small with all background screening requirements, including volunteer background checks.  Highly trained and skilled operators can assist in creating a risk mitigation-background check program for volunteer organizations.  With simple, easy-to-use, and secure on-line data portals, can offer a thorough, low-cost solution to volunteer background check requirements.



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