State and federal laws and regulations require specific types of screening and background checks—particularly criminal and sexual offense records checks—for individuals and professions that provide certain services to children and youth. Specific types of screening and background checks may also be required in order for you to receive state or federal funding.
There is no “one size fits all” screening requirement—organizations have their own unique requirements and may make different decisions about what background checks to conduct. Some (e.g., public schools) have strict requirements, while others are left to the discretion of the organization (e.g., an afterschool program in a faith community). These requirements may also limit the use of certain types of screening information to exclude an individual from consideration. Therefore, if, after review, you’re still uncertain about the rules and requirements that apply to your operation, we recommend that your leadership consult with an attorney and/or relevant professional association(s) for advice and guidance.
We do have one universal recommendation, however: that every youth-serving organization like yours implements some level of a background check and screening for all employees and volunteers without exception—even if an applicant is known to you—especially if unsupervised or unmonitored interactions with children are expected. And keep in mind as you conduct criminal history and background checks that, unless specified otherwise by law, the existence of a criminal record does not necessarily automatically disqualify an applicant.
Other Reading You Might Be Interested In
Sign Up to Access Your Learning Center
Customized child sexual abuse prevention guidelines to meet the unique needs of any organization that serves children.
- Evidence-informed guidance
- Actionable prevention steps
- Keeps track of your progress
- Tailored learning tracks