Your Youth-Serving Organization’s (YSO’s) hiring process should include basic screening measures for potential staff and volunteers through background checks and gathering information about their experience and intentions in working with children. Evaluating the nature of interactions between staff and children at your YSO will help you determine if additional screening requirements for potential staff and volunteers is necessary.
To determine if additional screening is warranted:
Consider the nature, duration, and frequency of contact between the staff, volunteers, and children. Assess the needs of your YSO by analyzing the kind of interactions occurring between staff and volunteers and children at your organization. Assessing the nature of contact with children may give leadership insight into additional screening needs at your organization.
Identify the physical locations of activities where staff and volunteers interact with children. Pinpoint the specific locations where staff and volunteers will be interacting with children to understand the type of supervision these settings will require. Information about the location and level of supervision needed can be used to determine additional screening and hiring practices.
Assess which employee interactions with children are supervised, monitored, or unsupervised. Determine the types of interactions by role at your organizations and the monitoring requirements of each. Utilize information gathered to advise additional screening procedures for each role.
Consider the ages and vulnerabilities of the children being served. Evaluate the characteristics of children served by your YSO, including young children with disabilities. Use this information to decide if additional screening procedures are required to maintain the safety of every child, including those who may be more vulnerable or at risk of abuse.
Identify the potential for any staff or volunteer to be alone with any child or group of children. Determine if the potential staff member or volunteer is the right fit for the position they are applying for, including their ability to work safely with children depending on the requirements of the position. Utilize screening procedures to decide if a potential staff member or volunteer meets the requirements to be alone with children.
Ensure additional requirements in Massachusetts and Federal laws are known and included in your screening policies and procedures. Follow state and federal guidelines regarding additional screening procedures that may pertain to your organization. While some organizations may not be required to complete background checks, they may choose to based on the needs of their organization or recommendations from state and federal guidelines.
Your YSO should further evaluate the individual needs of children, staff, and volunteers in order to determine if additional screening measures are needed. Utilizing additional screening measures can help to uphold safety standards, as it may better determine if potential candidates are the right fit for a position at your YSO.
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