9 Background Screening Best Practices

Bible Study at a Catholic Church

One of the most important steps you can take to protect kids in your children’s ministry is running background checks.

Here are nine tips to help you get started:

  1. Screen everyone.
    Children’s ministry workers of every rank and file should have a background check complete — from teachers and helpers to van drivers and kitchen workers. Really anyone on the property during children’s activities.
  2. Rescreen your volunteers.
    It’s recommended to run checks each year. If your screening provider integrates well with your church software, it will be easy to pull a list of previous years’ volunteers, whose background checks are outdated, and quickly re-check them. Also, ensure your screening service monitors automatically on a monthly basis to help identify new crimes. This will keep you safe for additional events at your church throughout the year.
  3. Save Church Staff Time and Money, and Protect Volunteer Privacy.
    Use a screening service that allows volunteers to fill in their sensitive information, and offers them the option to donate to your ministry by choosing to cover all or part of the screening cost.
  4. Use Multiple Layers of Screening
    Multiple background check sources need to be searched to fill in database gaps and to help uncover potential new information. Checking the NSOPW registry, nationwide and courthouse records is a good place to start.
  5. Don’t Trust Instant Checks
    Services that tout near-immediate results are from online or stale aggregated databases and are inaccurate and out of date, sometimes by several years.
  6. Have a Background Screening Policy and Publicize It
    Parishes can be a target for criminals because they expect the church to be more trusting, or lack necessary resources. Publish your background check policy online to deter those with ill-intent from volunteering in the first place.
  7. Validate Identities
    Most background checks are based on an individual’s name and date of birth, so validating a person’s identity via a government-issued ID is essential.
  8. Promote Transparency
    Ensure all parties — the organization and the individual — receive a copy of the background check report.
  9. Encourage Sharing
    Save your parish staff and your volunteers additional time and money. Encourage individuals to share their background check with other organizations they volunteer with. Likewise, consider accepting recent background checks that meet your policy’s standards.

For information on how quality volunteer background checks can help your church create a safer environment for your children’s ministry, contact the ParishSOFT Sales team at 866-930-4774 x6.

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