Chat with us, powered by LiveChat


A Guide to Background Checks When Working with Children

Background Checks When Working with Kids

Background Checks for People Working with Children

If you work with children, you are probably aware that background checks are required for childcare providers. This includes churches and other faith-based/community-based organizations. In fact, anybody associated with your organization—whether a volunteer or a staff member—needs to have a completed (and passed) background check on file if they are working with children.

What should a comprehensive background check include? 

Sometimes called a background screening or background investigation, a background check is the process of looking up a person or organization’s public records. Therefore, A background check is more than a simple criminal history check. 

The recommendations for a background check are based on the quality of data in each state and industry best practices. For example, at the very minimum, the background check should cover: 

  • Social Security Number Verification 
  • National Criminal Search 
  • Sex Offender Registries Search 
  • A 7-year County Criminal Background Search 

Each part of a background check is a critical piece of the puzzle to keep your nonprofit organization, church, or faith-based/community-based business safe. 

Who should you trust for background checks? 

Churches and ministries of all sizes find comfort in knowing that Protect My Ministry has helped thousands of faith-based organizations in all 50 states implement screening and risk management programs. Consequently, we have earned the trust of countless national and international ministries to meet their background screening needs.

Protect My Ministry would love to send you free background screening videos to help you understand the process of background checks and show you how to handle this delicate topic with your volunteers and staff. We can also explain how to easily implement a child safety training program.

How long does it take to complete a background check? 

With the migration of public records online, maintaining a compliance and due diligence program to safeguard your ministry is faster and easier than ever. The industry standard for most background checks is now 72-hours, but Protect My Ministry can typically turn around a submitted request on the same day or in less than 48 hours. 

If you still have questions about what should be included in your background screenings or if you’re wondering more about turnaround time, please visit our website to schedule a background check online consultation or request our free background screening instructional videos. 

Do only paid staff need to have background checks? 

Certainly, anyone in your organization who is working with children needs to have a background check. Federal law requires childcare providers to submit requests for background checks for each staff member. Staff is defined as anyone who is involved in the care or supervision of children or who may have unsupervised access to them. This includes bus drivers, kitchen staff, janitors, and administrative personnel—whether they are paid or volunteer.

If your staff member or volunteer will be driving children, you will also need a driving history check (MVR search). Everyone with a driver’s license has a driving record. When applying for a position that involves driving, prospective employers should consider a candidate’s driving history before offering a driving-centric position.

What’s the best way to conduct a volunteer screening? 

Most churches use volunteers. If you have a volunteer program, the simplest process is to request a background screening along with a volunteer application. Conducting background checks on potential volunteers can save your organization from unnecessary trouble before you ever approve a volunteer for service.  However, volunteers may not need to have a full, comprehensive background check like staff members. In addition, each state has its own policy regarding volunteers and background checks.  It is critical to complete background checks on any person working with children.

Learn more about your state’s requirements by visiting the State by State Resource Map or call your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency for additional information.

What are verification checks for people working with children? 

Criminal history searches are just one piece of a thorough pre-employment background check. A criminal background check won’t reveal anything about a person’s past employment or education. For instance, these details must instead be found using verification checks. There are a few different types of verification, including employment history, education, professional licensing or certification, and reference checks.

Do arrests show on employee background checks? 

Arrest information is often reportable for up to seven years. However, there are some states that have laws that prohibit employers from asking about arrest records or using them for employment-related decisions. We always recommend that organizations consult their legal counsel to see if your state excludes arrest history information from background check reports. Knowing this ahead of time can protect your organization from compliance issues. 

How far back do criminal history checks go? 

There is no federal law on how far back criminal history data is retained. As a result, most states decide this matter on their own. The norm is for criminal background checks to go back seven years.

What is the price for background checks? 

There is a fairly wide range of prices for background screening programs depending on the company. Therefore, Protect My Ministry seeks to offer a balance between cost and comprehensiveness.

Get Started 

In short, Protect My Ministry can help you fill the gaps in your risk management strategy. We are committed to helping faith-based organizations maintain a safe environment so they can focus on fulfilling their mission. It is important to protect everyone involved when working with children. Our processes, products, and solutions have made Protect My Ministry the industry leader for church background checks. Sign up today for more info and receive our free video series.