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Background Screening: A Diversity of Risk Mitigation in Protecting At-Risk Populations

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February 19, 2015 Return to News & Events

Risk mitigation is a concept some may not associate with background screening, but when it comes to risk mitigation with at-risk populations, background screening is at the very core of protection. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "People often forget that a background check is a tool to mitigate risk, which is a tool that creates a barrier against people with potentially bad intentions."

Every day strangers come into contact with members of the family. Caregivers, coaches, emergency responders; the list is endless. And many members of the family can be, potentially, at risk. From the elderly to small children, and those just recovering from a catastrophic lose due to acts of nature; at-risk populations must be protected from malfeasance.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "When one talks about risk, in the context of at-risk populations, they are talking about protecting those that cannot protect themselves. And they are being protected against potential harm, both physical and financial."

There are a number of tools that can be utilized in protecting at-risk populations and key among these is a vigorous background screening program and, within that process, background checks.

Almeida states: "A criminal background check can provide information on an individual's past, information that is drawn from databases and actual court records. There is an exhaustive amount of public information that, when used in a legal and lawful manner, can provide detail on an individual's past. This information, combined with other tools such as interview and verification, can paint a potent picture."

There are a variety of instances where background checks are utilized in protecting at-risk populations.

In Luzerne, PA recent changes to law will greatly assist in further protecting children. From (Jan. 11, 15):

According to information provided by Kaufer’s office, someone whose profession involves direct contact with children will be required to obtain both criminal background check clearances and child abuse clearances and to have those clearances re-certified every three years. The new background check clearance requirements for all employees went into effect Dec. 31. (1)

A key element within this new law is the outlining of minimum standards. Often groups and organizations have standards that are much more demanding, but setting a minimum standard is a positive forward step.

In Florida lawmakers have begun to focus on background screening emergency volunteers thereby highlighted an at-risk population that is not often considered. After a disastrous act of nature nearly everyone within that specific area becomes a member of the at-risk population.

Emergency volunteers provide a critical function, not only in Florida but across the country.

From (Jan 26, 15):

When disaster strikes in Palm Beach County, a team of volunteers trained by county emergency managers can be deployed as the first line of defense, helping their communities with everything from search and rescue to basic first aid to putting out small fires. (2)

But without a background check there may be opportunity for individuals with less than altruistic motives to join in with emergency volunteers.

From (Jan 26, 15):

The lack of background checks, though, could "create the opportunity for felons to use these credentials to gain access to some of Florida's most vulnerable population: the disabled, the elderly and disaster survivors," the report concluded. (3)

However, it should be noted that not all governmental bodies or community groups agree on the use of background checks.

Recently, the Senate judicial committee in Colorado rejected a proposed bill that was designed to give greater protections to children via background checks. The bill was designed to protect children in extended contact with coaches and other volunteers.

From (Jan. 28, 15):

Senate Bill 48 would have required youth sports organizations to execute a criminal background check for any employee or volunteer having contact with youth members "five or more days in a calendar month" or accompanying the organization on overnight stays. (4)

Despite the loss in committee the issue of background checks to mitigate risk to children remains in the news.

Almeida states: "Background screening is a critical process in vetting volunteers of all kinds. From caregivers to coaches to emergency responders, a vigorous background screening process can greatly assist in protecting at-risk populations." is a third-party background screening company that can provide a low-cost background screening program for businesses and companies of all types. Dedicated to the mission of protecting at-risk populations, can develop a program unique to a wide-variety of organizations and groups.






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