Using a Background Check Service

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As a church, we established a Safe Church policy in 2009. However, we did not implement a full background check. We have "application forms" and include reference checks, which are always people known in the church. 

Right now we are looking at possibly using Verified Volunteers for background checks.

How does your church handle this aspect of Safe Church policy?

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Our church has been using Sterling Backcheck. Combined with an application form called a 'volunteer profile' and a sign off on our abuse prevention policy. Each ministry leader is still responsible for documenting the reference checks. 

Sterling is very simple and can be easily set up so the church can pay for each application. In Canada, any church that is a member of Plan to Protect, receives a discount from Sterling as well. 

Hope this helps ...

Community Builder

We have resources about background checks posted on our website with other policy information. Safe church recommends a criminal background check for anyone working with children, youth or vulnerable populations. There are many options for background checks as well as different kinds of checks. An interview and reference checks are also part of a full screening process. The people that are entrusted to our care, especially the small and vulnerable, are precious and valuable to our Lord. It's our responsibility to do what we can to protect them and offer a safe and nurturing environment for faith to grow. 

Community Builder

Thank you, Fred and Bonnie!

One more question- Fred mentioned that his church can pay for each application. 

If you have background checks in your church ministry, do you pay for them, or do your volunteers pay a percentage? What is typical for churches?

Thanks!

Community Builder

Some churches in Michigan use a free state-wide criminal background check provided by ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool). It's free for non-profits, including churches, that are registered with the state. Once a church registers, they can do their own state-wide background checks for free. Cost can vary depending on the type of check; if it's a nominal fee, it may be OK to expect volunteers cover it themselves (although a process should allow for those to whom this would cause financial hardship). Some would say that if the church requires it, then the church should pay for it. One way churches can show that they value volunteers is to offer to pay for the background checks for those who are already giving time, energy and other resources in their service to the church. Some, perhaps most, people will also be happy to pay for their own background check, seeing it as a part of their contribution to the church.

I only know what we do in our church. The Insurance Co. requires background check every 5 yrs. We are in year 7 or 8 with approx 215 approved volunteers. We renew 30-40 per year which is not difficult or very expensive. All the best to you ...

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