Here’s how you can develop a screening policy that fits your organization’s role, size, and resources:
- Know the screening rules and regulations (if they exist) that apply to your organization’s represented professions, and to your work or activities. For example, teachers may be subject to screening requirements from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, licensed childcare organizations would follow those from the Department of Early Education and Care, and summer camps would adhere to screening requirements imposed by the MA Department of Public Health.
- Determine who to screen based on staff and volunteer level of engagement with children and youth—especially if unsupervised interactions are expected.
- Develop and implement a standard set of policies and practices for screening that includes:
- Strategies for incorporating screening into recruitment materials
- Identification of screening elements and their use
- Identification of the individuals responsible for screening and a plan for training them
- Development of standard protocols for gathering screening information, including timeline and information management practices
- Establishment of criteria to evaluate screening results and inform a determination of the applicant’s suitability
- Establishment of a protocol for acting on screening information, including who is empowered to make the final decision
In addition to meeting screening requirements for specific positions, your organization should implement some level of screening and background checks for all employees and volunteers—both youth and adults (although information for youth will likely be limited).
No exception to screening should be made, even for individuals known to the screener or to your organization. However, the level of screening may change based on an individual’s level of engagement with children and youth, and especially if unsupervised interactions are expected. You should consider stronger requirements for the screening of individuals who are likely to have any direct unsupervised or unmonitored contact with children and youth.
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