The Burke County Parks and Recreation Commission in South Carolina is seeking to standardize the policy on background checks for volunteers. According to Gary Craigo, County Recreation Director, they have been attempting to draft a policy for quite some time that would standardize background checks amongst the 16 youth organizations across the county. Chairman of the Recreation Commission, Kevin Reese states that towns throughout the county have been conducting the checks, “but it hasn’t been mandatory” and they have been using “their own criteria.” He said the commission feels it would be best if the policy was more uniform and “everybody was using the same company.”
In the past, a major roadblock to passing a uniform policy was concern of the cost of the background checks, according to Craigo. However, the policy that was just approved by the county Commissioners Board would call for the individual youth organizations to foot the bill of the background checks. The policy requires yearly background checks for all volunteers, at $8 per check. Reese said that although the individual organizations will need to pay for all of the checks, volunteers are welcome to pay for their own check if they are willing. The volunteers who will need to complete a background check include board members and officers of youth organizations, coaches, and assistants. Reese estimates the number of volunteers who will be affected by the new policy to be from 500 to 1000.
The policy has set forth certain guidelines of what type of offenses that would disqualify a potential volunteer. Those found guilty of any sex offense, violent felony, or any violent misdemeanors or misdemeanor drug and alcohol offenses that involved a minor would automatically be disqualified, regardless of how much time has passed since the offense. Additionally, other felony and misdemeanor offenses that would be considered harmful to a minor committed within a range of five to ten years past completion of probation or date of release, depending on the charge and offense, would also result in disqualification. According to Craigo, the newly passed policy is “good…for our parks and recreation department.” If volunteers have a disqualifying charge on their records, they will not be allowed to volunteer until they meet the requirements of the policy.
Tightening requirements on background check policies by community recreation departments are becoming more commonplace. As discussed in the recent article, Audit Shows City Rec Department is Not Following Proper Hiring Procedures, there can be real consequences when everyone working closely with children are not vetted thoroughly. Keeping children safe in the community should be a priority for everyone. By using a reputable company like backgroundchecks.com, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available. With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their US OneSEARCH gives you instant information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports.
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Author: Michael Klazema