Exchange Students will not be Protected from Criminal Host Families

By Michael Klazema on 4/18/2012

The US State Department was at first entertaining the idea of requiring host families to undergo background checks in order to protect students, but they have recently decided not to continue with those plans.  Due to budget restraints, the State Department feels it would be too much of an undertaking for states to put host families through checks.  It’s already difficult to find enough families willing to host the 30,000 high school exchange students visiting our country each year.  Adding the background check requirement would likely limit them even more.  Unfortunately though, dozens of cases of abuse, including sexual abuse, have been reported in host family situations.

Some districts do require a local or state background check, but none require a national check and so miss many crimes committed by hosts who have fled their original states.  One sponsor, in fact, was discovered to have a murder conviction on their record.  Many of the organizations who carry out the process of finding host families were found to be in noncompliance, having not gone through the proper procedures like checking references and normally did not offer checks through reputable companies like

It seems school districts and these organizations both should be concerned with checking databases like US Offender OneSEARCH to make sure a potential host is not a registered offender anywhere in the nation, or even US OneSEARCH which checks for criminal convictions records in multiple jurisdictions across all 50 states.  Although budget concerns are a big priority right now, there are affordable alternative for traditional background checks that can uncover criminal records fast and easy. It would be sad to think that the biggest impression our country leaves on a foreign exchange student might be such a terrible one because we chose not to take any steps to protect them.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


Industry News

Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 20 The #MeToo movement is bringing about legislative changes employers need to know about. We review some of the laws recently passed in California.
  • November 19

    Will a criminal conviction show up on your background check forever? In most states, there is a year limit for how long background check companies can report older criminal information.

  • November 15

    Replacing an inconsistent array of procedures, Ontario's government has passed into law a reform act intended to clarify how police departments should handle requests for information to be used in background checks. 

  • November 14 The federal government has vowed to cut its backlog of security clearance background checks in half by spring. Currently, the backlog is approximately 600,000 names strong.
  • November 12 To ensure the best hires, DFWSPF has implemented a stringent employee screening process—one that includes background searches through