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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


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