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The type of record that is reviewed should have some bearing on the role and responsibility that the volunteer is seeking to undertake. Checking criminal records will yield information about criminal behavior. Credit history records may be useful if the volunteer will be handling cash or financial transactions. If convictions are predictive of future behavior, why not use arrest records in the screening process, too?
Civil Rights Act of , bars the use of arrest data in screening processes for paid positions. It is wise to assume that the same case law would also preclude using arrest data for screening volunteers. The screening process should consider convictions and only those arrests for which final disposition is pending. The criminal history record check is a screening tool, not a selection tool. There should be volunteer selection criteria that are used after the volunteer applicant clears the criminal history record check. Courts are increasingly holding employers liable for negligent hiring practices that result in injury to other employees or to third parties.
The employer is expected to use reasonable care in hiring employees and to take steps to prevent injury where there is a foreseeable risk. Any legal distinction between employer-employee negligent hiring and employer-volunteer hiring is likely to be irrelevant, especially in a setting where volunteers are interacting with children and vulnerable populations. The Volunteer Protection Act, signed into law by President Clinton in , provides some immunity for volunteers from claims for injury or damage to others while the volunteer is performing their duties.
It does not, however, provide immunity for willful, wanton or illegal acts committed by the volunteer. The act was never intended to provide liability immunity for the organization. In a recent case involving sexual molestation by a volunteer, the defendant, a school, had not conducted a criminal record check on the volunteer.
The prosecution alleged negligence because there had been no background check, even though the check would have revealed no criminal history for the volunteer. Furthermore, the organization had never instructed staff and volunteers in recognizing the warning signs of abuse or provided guidelines for dealing with such suspicions. Even with the signature of the volunteer, indicating agreement with the policy, there is no assurance that the volunteer will abide by the policies.
Background Check Services for Public School Volunteers
If the volunteer violates the Behavior Expectations, the organization may have grounds to release the non-compliant volunteer from service. But the policy does nothing to protect children and vulnerable populations from abuse and victimization. There are a number of other risk management techniques to guard against opportunities for victimization that should be integral with the operation of the organization:.
Criminal history background checks are insufficient to absolutely guarantee the protection of children and vulnerable populations. Criminal checks will only uncover criminal predators with a criminal record.
Background Check FAQ
The background checks must be coupled with other risk management procedures to help the organization protect against victimization by volunteers. Volunteer applicants should authorize the organization to conduct the background check. While it may be possible to check public records to obtain some of the information that would be checked in the background investigation, it is always advisable to have the volunteer applicant sign the authorization before commencing any checks.
If the volunteer applicant is unwilling to authorize the background check, the organization should not read anything into the refusal, but should withdraw the invitation to apply for a volunteer position. Your local law enforcement agency will be able to advise your organization about the authorization form that is required for the criminal history background check.
If the process involves a national search through the FBI database, your local law enforcement agency will be able to provide the criminal history questionnaire, fingerprint cards and authorization forms. The volunteer applicant must complete an authorization form that is on a page separate from all other application information. This authorization form must identify the types of information that will be provided by the reporting company and include the authorization signature of the volunteer applicant.
If the organization needs medical information in the report, an additional authorization will be required. Every organization should be aware that there are obligations placed on those who receive reports from commercial investigative or commercial consumer reporting agencies:. Summary Criminal predators may be trying to infiltrate our schools, recreation departments and elder care facilities. The DOJ confirms what the media has been reporting: Criminal predators will continue to seek new victims until they are stopped.
An effective way to identify known criminal predators is through criminal history background checks. Congress and state legislatures have opened access to fingerprint-based criminal history databases for employee and volunteer record checks. States have responded by requiring criminal record checks as part of the certification screening for some professionals and pre-employment screening for some positions. Anyone working closely with vulnerable adult populations, whether it is a registered nurse or a patient transport aide, should be subject to the same criminal record check screening process.
Note that this regulation applies to University Supervisors working with pre-service teachers and to researchers who are working in classrooms with teachers and students. Plan to obtain your clearances at least 2 months prior to needing them for clinical or work experiences. You should always retain the original clearances and provide copies to the university and any school in which you are working.
Student Safety: Screening and Background Checks for School Volunteers
NOTE: The Regulation allows an applicant to enter into a school for a single period not to exceed 90 days, except during a lawful strike, provided that all the following conditions are met:. Be sure to use your current home address on the form, and complete all fields to the best of your knowledge.
Skip to main content. University of Pittsburgh. Pitt Home Find People. Applicants should register online with Identogo Systems prior to going to the fingerprinting center.
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Payment is made online at the time of registration by credit or debit card. No cash or personal checks are accepted.
Please record your UE ID registration number - it is a series of letters and numbers - you will need to provide this number to any school district, institution, or agency needing the results of your federal background check. The applicant then reports to one of the approved fingerprint centers which will be provided upon registration The fingerprints are scanned; the entire fingerprint capture process takes approximately 10 minutes. The prints are then electronically transmitted to the PA State Police, who then submits the fingerprints and demographic information to the FBI as required by federal statute.
You will receive an unofficial copy by mail. After you have been fingerprinted, you should provide any school district, institution, or agency which needs access to the results of your federal clearance with your registration number.