Can we talk background checks?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Can we talk background checks?
12
Sat, 08-25-2012 - 2:55pm

So, in theory, I understand the importance of background checks.  I mean if people are working with children, it sounds like a smart idea, right?

But the practicality of it is really bugging me.  I volunteer for Girl Scouts and we are required to have them done every three years in our council.  The State is going to start charging for them this year so GS is going to start charging the adults for them. 

I have to have one if I volunteer in school.  I have to have one if I volunteer at Church.  If I had boys and was a Boy or Cub Scout volunteer, I'd have to have one for that.  I'm sure little leagues and other sports organizations require them as well.  

If I start getting charged for every single one that could get pricey and it might just limit what I'm willing to volunteer for.  

Plus, I'm really beginning to wonder how much these background checks really tell us.  I know it used to be it was only good for the state you were currently in.  If you were in a border town (like we are) you could have spent a ton of time in prison in the neighboring state and the check for my state wouldn't show it.  Plus if I'm an organization like GS that is disorganized at best (I know, I'm very involved) who is actually looking at these reports?

And heaven forbid organizations like GS & BS work together to share background checks since so many parents volunteer for both.

So, any thoughts?  I think I'm getting volunteer fatigue, but this is just one more thing to deal with....

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 8:57am

Good point!

I would also like to turn to question around:  to all the mothers with young children, how many of you are comfortable with sending your children to a school/caretaker/camp, etc. where they do not do any background check? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 11:13am
That's exactly it -
" I wonder how many criminals, knowing they will be screened, even go to the extent of applying for a role at an org. "
The fingerprinting is the screening that discourages them from applying. Not a perfect system, but better than not screening.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 8:43pm
I don't think it's a guarantee, but it certainly dissuades those with a conviction for preying on children from volunteering.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 7:12pm

I think the checks keep kids somewhat safer. Without the checks anyone could volunteer. It would be nice if we didn't have to be checked by separate places. Like, maybe, once we are checked, we get a certificate or something, so, the next place doesn't have to through the time or expense n checking us again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 6:47pm
We get off fairly cheaply here. I'm told my employer pays under $20 for each check on employees and volunteers. When our reports come through they list the charges, dates and sentencing for each charge, including dismissed charges. It also gives a case number so you can go to the court house and pull the case record on anything that its concerning. The report tells you enough to know if this is readily someone that you would wasn't alone with a child or a vulnerable adult.

It's not a perfect system but it's better than nothing.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 1:17pm
So what are all these checks really telling anyone? Do you really think it makes our children safer or just gives us a false sense of security?
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 10:36am
I've been through this for my job as a teacher, where I pay myself, but the one volunteer organization that required it also paid for it. Also, it doesn't have to be repeated because once you're cleared, any arrests would immediately be reported to your organization or employer.

I think it's an important thing. I've even proposed that our PTA screen our executive board and give out ID badges because the kids in school are very comfortable with us coming and going, as are the teachers, and they should know that we are authorized to be in the building unescorted.

I'm not a volunteer with boy scouts but I attend some of the meetings and I believe the troop or pack pays for the fingerprinting. They also go through training to identify child abuse, avoid misunderstandings with children, and to respond to inappropriate behavior by other adults or one of the boys. I think this type of training would be helpful for all groups that work with children.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Sat, 08-25-2012 - 7:11pm
Oh forgot that I did GS & FBI bg check in the same 2 weeks. Pretty funny
~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Sat, 08-25-2012 - 7:09pm
I have to go thru thr background checks for GS & my job (plus being fingerprinted & doing FBI back ground check too because I work for the VA) I know that they went back over 30 yrs in my FBI check (got calls from high school friends about the FBI coming to chat with them) so far my state hasn't started charging for it YET.
~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.