Screening can stop abuse before it starts.
Adopting a solid screening process is the first line of defense in creating a safe environment and is the minimum expectation for any organization that serves vulnerable populations. A thorough, consistent screening process may discourage would-be offenders from targeting an organization. Failure to uncover a known offender can endanger those in your care and permanently damage your reputation, financial stability, and trust within the community.
We recommend screening all who have access to vulnerable populations, following all state and federal licensing regulations; individuals with higher access should be screened more thoroughly. When evaluating an individual’s level of access, consider:
Frequency: How frequently does the individual work around or interact with consumers? Is it a one-time event or every day?
Duration: What is the duration of the individual’s interactions? Is it a one-time event or an entire summer?
Level of Supervision: Are the individual’s interactions always supervised by another adult, or are they operating alone with a consumer or a small group of consumers?
Nature of Relationship: Does the individual merely supervise an area during an event, or are they getting to know individual consumers and families as part of the program?
Essential Searches for employees working with vulnerable populations
- A multi-state criminal and national sex offender database search
- County-level searches
- For lower access individuals, in at least the current county of residence
- For high access individuals, in every county the applicant has lived, worked, or gone to school in for the last seven years
Screening is essential at several intervals.
- Prior to granting employees or volunteers access to vulnerable populations
- Re-screening at least every two years for continuously engaged employees and volunteers
- Re-screening annually for seasonal employees and volunteers