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More Volunteers Screened with Criminal Background Checks to Protect Children

by Tom Ahearn 11/2/2009 11:58:00 AM

According to an article in USA TODAY, screening volunteers with criminal background checks has become common in many volunteer organizations, and background checks are seen as an effective way to protect children, the elderly, and the disabled from sex offenders and people with criminal pasts — and protect volunteer organizations from liability over negligent recruiting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor's "VOLUNTEERING IN THE UNITED STATES,  2008" report reveals that approximately 61.8 million people (or 26.4 percent of the population) volunteered at least once between September 2007 and September 2008.

If volunteers in America work with children, the elderly, and the disabled, they most likely undergo criminal background checks that look for "red flags" such as drug felonies, domestic violence, child abuse, and sex crimes, USA TODAY reports. Using background checks on volunteers has grown steadily since 1993, when the National Child Protection Act became law and enabled organizations to use criminal background checks to screen out volunteers with criminal records, according to USA TODAY, and some states have enacted their own laws concerning volunteer background checks:

  • Florida: A 2005 state law requires school districts to run potential volunteers through the sexual predator and offender database.
  • Minnesota: A 2008 state law made background checks mandatory for volunteers who work with children, the elderly, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations.
  • Ohio: A 2001 state law encourages youth organizations to require background checks for volunteers.
  • Oregon: A 2001 state law authorizes the State Police to conduct national background checks on people volunteering to work with children, the elderly and the disabled.

Ensuring the safety and security of members and the community should be a top priority for volunteer organizations, and they need a volunteer background check program in place that meets the specific requirements of for volunteer screening, — a pioneer in the consumer requested and applicant supplied background check industry — has developed a unique and comprehensive Volunteer Tracking System (VTS) for volunteer background checks that tracks volunteer applicants that effectively manages risk, significantly reduces volunteer background check costs, and protects volunteers, volunteer organizations, and the community.

For more information about's Volunteer Tracking System (VTS) for volunteer background checks, visit, call 1-800-503-2364, or request information. Take a Volunteer Screening and Risk Management Nonprofit Organization Survey. Follow on Twitter at

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: “Preventing the Unthinkable: An Integrated Approach to Protecting Campers and Staff”

by Tom Ahearn 2/3/2009 3:35:00 PM – an exclusive background screening vendor to several national volunteer organizations and member of the Family of Companies – hosted a complimentary webinar “Preventing the Unthinkable: An Integrated Approach to Protecting Campers and Staff” on January 27, 2009.

Participants in the webinar learned how developed a comprehensive Volunteer Tracking System (VTS) to meet the specific requirements for volunteer screening. The webinar also explained how VTS screening tracks volunteer applicants within an organization for effective risk management at the local, regional, and national levels, while also significantly reducing volunteer screening costs and protecting volunteers, communities, and organizations.

The webinar also showed how effective VTS screening exceeds typical background screening programs and can prevent exposure to volunteers with criminal pasts, provide fast and accurate screening reports on volunteer applicants, and be a low-cost comprehensive solution for all volunteer screening. Last year, over 1,000,000 volunteers were subjected to background screening services provided by

In addition, the webinar explained how a “volunteer donation option” allows volunteers to pay for their own background screening, since statistics reveal that 20% of volunteers would pay for their screening if the money saved would benefit children. Combined with national pricing discounts, this could lead to significant savings in background screening costs.

The live webinar has ended, but an archived version of this webinar is available for viewing on demand at To get more information on Volunteer Tracking System for screening volunteers, please visit or speak with a VTS representative at 1-800-503-2364.


Preventing the Unthinkable: An Integrated Approach to Protecting Campers and Staff

by Tom Ahearn 1/20/2009 9:04:00 AM

Summer – and excited children heading off to summer camps for swimming, hiking, and boating – may be months away, but the hiring of camp staff and camp volunteers begins long before the temperatures start getting warmer. And while summer camp should be a time for fun, freedom, and frolicking, there are those criminals who would use this opportunity to prey upon the most innocent of victims in the most pleasant of surroundings.

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), more than 11 million children and adults attend approximately 12,000 camps throughout the United States every year. These camps use almost two million individuals as staff or volunteers to serve children, youth, and vulnerable adults – all potential victims of criminal activities. A recent ACA pilot program in which selected youth serving organizations had access to timely and inexpensive background checks on potential volunteers revealed some alarming criminal data.

Of the nearly 40,000 criminal background checks conducted on volunteers, 6.1% of all applicants were found to have criminal records that rendered them unfit to work with children. These criminal records included convictions of criminal sexual conduct with a child, aggravated criminal assault, rape, homicide, and other serious felonies. In addition, 40% of these individuals had a criminal record from other states – meaning that only a nationwide check would have uncovered that fact – and 26% of them showed a different name on their criminal record than the one they used to apply.

Protecting members from the unthinkable – and the criminals who commit those crimes – is the top priority of any organization, including non-profit and volunteer groups. Leading consumer background check provider – a member of the Family of Companies – is sponsoring a FREE webinar titled “Preventing the Unthinkable: An Integrated Approach to Protecting Campers and Staff” on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 from 1:00 PM to 1:40 PM PST to help camp owners keep their camps safe and protect their campers and volunteer staff from criminals. Campground decision makers and camp volunteers interested in joining the webinar may sign up at

Participants in this webinar will learn how to increase camper and camp volunteer staff safety by preventing exposure to sexual predators and other criminals, tracking camp job and volunteer applicants to see if they have ever been denied placement at camps before, and implementing a minimal-cost, comprehensive screening solution for camps on a local, regional, and national level.

How can criminals be prevented from being volunteers at camps? The answer is by using’s comprehensive Volunteer Tracking System (VTS), a unique volunteer screening program that tracks volunteer applicants within your organization for effective risk management at the local, regional, and national levels. VTS significantly reduces volunteer screening costs and protects volunteers, the community, and your organization.

To learn more about’s VTS, please visit or contact a VTS representative at 1-800-503-2364. To learn how to protect your camp or volunteer organization from criminals, or to sign up for the FREE webinar – “Preventing the Unthinkable: An Integrated Approach to Protecting Campers and Staff” – please visit

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