With spring sports registration comes spring sport background checks

It’s hard to believe, but winter is waning and spring sports registration is under way in many parts of the country. If your business, school or organization is involved in any way, shape or form with spring sports involving children and teenagers, now is the time to make sure you have — and are following — a clearly stated policy on background checks. Make sure everyone currently on staff has had a thorough background check, and that any new coach, volunteer or job applicant undergoes the same background screening.

Parents will be asking what your policy is, so have handouts on hand to give out as part of the registration process. And be sure to include a phone number and contact person for parents to call with questions or to report any activity they feel is suspicious or worrisome.

Finally, check with your state laws to make sure the type of background checks you’re doing are compliant with state regulations. And get the process under way as soon as possible — many coaches and volunteers tend to drag their feet when it comes to completing and returning the necessary forms. The last thing you want is to have a shortage of eligible coaches when it comes time for the season to start!

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Juniata College passed on Sandusky after background check

The child molestation case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky got worse last week when two more victims came forward with allegations that he sexually assaulted them during their time in The Second Mile, the children’s charity Sandusky founded.

Sandusky now faces criminal accusations from 10 young men and more than 50 charges stemming from what authorities say were assaults over 15 years on boys in his home, on Penn State property and elsewhere.

It was also reported that in May 2010, a year and a half after an initial investigation was launched into Sandusky’s conduct with young boys, he applied for a volunteer football coaching position at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania and was denied based on a background check. The background check showed a high school where Sandusky previously volunteered was investigating him, and though officials at Juniata didn’t know or ask for details, they decided to pass on Sandusky.

This brings to light the importance of not just conducting background checks but heeding the warning signs that pre-employment screening services dig up. Though Sandusky had no criminal record or any formal charges against him, Juniata College officials used their judgment based on all the facts they were given and made the best choice for their organization.

Given the scandal Penn State now has on its hands, Juniata College is an example of the immeasurable benefits of conducting a thorough background check on every potential employee or volunteer.

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Report shows 110,000 new private-sector jobs were created in September

Good news for employers and job seekers: According to October’s National Employment Report, employment in the private sector jumped by 110,000 jobs from September 2011 to October 2011. Even better news: The estimated increase in employment from August 2011 to September 2011 was revised, up to 116,000 jobs from the initially reported 91,000 jobs.

If the trend continues, one could infer that the country is indeed turning a corner, back from the brink of economic disaster, with the slow trickle of new jobs easing the drought we’ve been suffering through for the last few years.

The report, sponsored by leading U.S. payroll service provider ADP and maintained by economic consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC – measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month. Highlights from October’s report include:

• Total employment increased by 110,000 jobs from September to October.

• Small businesses (payrolls with 1-49 employees) increased by 58,000 jobs from September to October.

• Medium businesses (payrolls with 50-499 employees) increased by 53,000 jobs from September to October.

• Large businesses (payrolls with more than 499 employees) decreased by 1,000 jobs from September to October.

More small and medium sized businesses opening their doors to job seekers — some who have no doubt been on the unemployment line for some time — is a good thing, but employers can’t be too careful about the new investments they’re making in their workforce. Be sure to contract with an employment screening service to conduct a thorough background check on every prospective employee. If you want business to continue to get better, you need to protect your investments and make wise, informed decisions regarding new employees.

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California audit finds state-licensed foster homes failed to check workers and residents against sex offender registries

A California auditor has issued a report that found state-licensed foster homes and other child welfare facilities have been harboring sex offenders because regulators failed to check the state registry for such offenders, despite being advised to do so in 2008.

More than 1,000 addresses for foster homes run by the California Department of Social Services and three county agencies matched addresses found in the state’s sex offender registries, according to the audit. (The information was compiled after an audit of facilities in Alameda, Fresno and Sacramento counties.) About 600 of the addresses were listed as “high risk,” meaning that the sex offender at the address, if correct, “poses an immediate threat to a vulnerable person. Action on these address matches is of highest priority.”

When asked by a reporter about the circumstances that would allow such proximity between a sex offender and a child, the auditor said sex offenders typically are family members or someone else living at the foster home, and since the department of social services does a single background check on the individual applying for a license to run a facility, sex offenders often go unnoticed.

The sobering report is another example of how important it is to do a thorough background check on every adult living and working not just in a foster home but any facility, school or organization where children are cared for.

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Private School Applicants Should Be Vetted Similar to Those in Public Schools

While public school teachers have for many years been required to submit to a thorough background check, private school teachers have largely not been under such standards. Though several states have made background checks for private school teachers and staff a requirement, many others still don’t have such laws in place, leaving thousands of children vulnerable to criminals and other unsafe adults who shouldn’t have access to our nation’s youth.

One such state currently working to change this law is Wisconsin. A new bill introduced by Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, with colleagues Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson; Cory Mason, D-Racine and Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, would bring private schools funded by taxpayer dollars into compliance with requirements at public schools — including subjecting those teachers and staff to background checks.

While that’s a step in the right direction, those in charge of private schools that aren’t yet in subjected to state laws regarding background checks should still give careful consideration to adopting the process, if they haven’t already. The expense of such pre-employment screening, while a consideration, is considerably less than the potentially astronomical legal fees, not to mention the anguish and stress, that a private school would be subjected to if a problem was found or a crime occurred involving a member of the school’s staff who wasn’t properly vetted in a thorough employment screening process.

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Contractors Who Work At Schools, Health Care Facilities Should Undergo Background Checks

Employment background screening has been standard protocol for all schools, day care centers, nursing homes and other facilities and businesses that care for and supervise children, the aged and the sick. If you are involved in the school system or in health care, you are no doubt well aware of the policies and procedures necessary when hiring someone. They include a thorough background check, including a criminal background screening and drug testing.

But businesses outside those two categories — health care and education/child care — are increasingly finding themselves in the position of having the backgrounds of their employees called into question when working for or where can i buy electronic cigarettes even near schools and health care facilities. For example, a new piece of legislation in Delaware, if passed, would require all employees of contractors and subcontractors working on school premises to undergo a criminal background check and a child protection registry check.

If a contract your company wins means your employees will be working near students or other vulnerable people, chances are they’re going to need to undergo a criminal background screening. It’s best to have such records on file from the start, which is why pre-employment screening is so important for businesses across all industries.

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School Bus Drivers Must Pass Background Checks

One of the biggest issues for many parents is how their children will be getting to and from school.  And for plenty of families, the answer is simple and traditional: the yellow school bus.  But what’s become perfectly clear is the fact that, in this day and age, bus drivers must be able to pass comprehensive background checks in order to assume their roles.

If you think this just costs money and is a frivolous requirement, think again.  Many school districts use their intensive background checking processes to encourage parents to allow their sons and daughters to use the school transportation.  For instance, in the Douglas County School System, North Carolina, bus drivers are put through a thorough background check and a rigorous 64 hours of training.  That’s before they ever are allowed to be in charge of little (or big) kids.

In North Carolina, the state only requires 12 hours of training for bus drivers, so Douglas County School System has set itself apart.  Douglas County School System also has a tremendously rigorous interviewing and hiring system that includes criminal checks, drug testing, motor vehicle checks, pre-employment physical exams and reference checks.

The upshot for all this planning and preparation?  In the past six years, Douglas County School System has never had one accident or problem with any of its substitute or regular bus drivers.  It’s a definite testament to the power of background checking and proper set up. 

Has Your Babysitter Been Background Checked?

If you’re like many working parents, you probably see back-to-school as a time when you need to start lining up a babysitter… or two.  After all, once the end of the year gets underway, it’s nice to have someone you trust to call upon! 

The problem is that many moms and dads equate “trust” with “going with gut instincts”.  Instead of thoroughly background checking someone who will be watching their youngsters, they go with one or more of the following criteria:

a.  Whether or not they “like” the babysitter.

b.  How much the babysitter charges.

c.  How available the babysitter is.

d.  Whether they are satisfied with the babysitter’s references.

While these are all great criteria, they aren’t fallible because they don’t answer the bigger question:  Does this babysitter have anything on his/her record that parents should know about?

Now, a 12-year-old babysitter probably isn’t going to have a criminal record, of course.  But a college student or other adult could indeed have a past that would make a parent not want him or her to be in charge of any kids.

The good news is that it’s not impossible to get a thorough background check on potential babysitters and nannies.   So don’t leave anything up to chance.  Get the best, most reliable ‘sitter you can find.

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  • NBA Background Checks – More Thorough Than Many Businesses’

    With all the media hubbub surrounding the bad habits and poor choices of some NBA players, it might come as a surprise that the NBA actually has a very strict background screening process in place.  But the truth of the matter is that their background checks weed out the “bad apples” in no time flat.

    As Gregg Polinsky, the director of player personnel of the New Jersey Nets, recently noted in an article when discussing the lessons that college basketball programs could learn from the NBA’s stringent background checking rules:

    “When you talk to enough people,’’ he said, “you can put together the puzzle of the person’s personality type.’’

    If you’re a business person, you need to start thinking more like the NBA about your “players”!  One toxic athlete can bring a whole team to its knees and wind up costing much more than a thorough background check ever would.

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  • Treat Your Employees Well, But Protect Your Interests First

    papersIt can be tough for many employers to accept the fact that, although they want to maintain an excellent working environment for their people, they have to make sure they protect their interests initially.  This comes in many forms, including background checks on all prospective employees.

    A quick, but thorough, background check can give an employer an abundance of information, including whether or not a potential hiree has been having credit problems.  (Though that isn’t necessarily a “deal breaker”, it can be a red flag, especially if the hiree would be handling a lot of cash or be in charge of the finances.)  Additionally, employers can find out if a job candidate has a criminal past, has lied on his/her resume and more.

    If employers conduct a comprehensive screening of all potential employees, there’s no need to operate an organization that fears its workers in terms of trusting them to conduct themselves honestly and in the business’s best interests.  And that’s better for everyone, including the consumers and/or companies the business serves.

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