Q&A: Reliable Screening Services

How do you know if you’re using a “good” background screening service?

We’ve been using an internet service that charges us between $9 and $15 per search depending on the information we’re looking for. Their response comes back usually within a day. Since price isn’t always an indicator and their websites don’t clarify exactly how they get this information, how do you know if you are using a “good” criminal background check service (one that does not report just incarcerated or registered sex offenders) out of the many that show up in an internet search?

There is no such thing as a $9 background screening program. Background screening firms thatmarket and provide the cheap $9 background screening checks are preying upon churches and volunteer organizations by providing a product that they know is incomplete but is very attractive to organizations with tight budgets. The justification for selling a cheap database search as background screening program is driven by profit and not quality. Under no circumstances would a $9 criminal database search be sufficient for screening volunteers or employees. Case law is quite specific and makes little variance between volunteer and employee when determining an organization’s culpability. Numerous lawsuits, some involving churches, have found that a volunteer DOES fall under negligent hiring doctrine. Therefore I am not sure why a church would want to vary the information they are looking for. For $9 to $15 they are not getting much information to begin with. It does make complete sense to add additional screening solutions, such as an Employment Credit Report to a comprehensive criminal background screening package, for, say, an accounting position. Any background screening report that comes back instantly or within a few hours is not a comprehensive background screening report.

Since there is little oversight of the background screening industry, it makes it difficult to distinguish quality background screening firms from background screening firms that lack integrity. Quality background screening firms will be very transparent in their marketing and descriptions of their products. At a minimum a church should be using fourscreening solutionson EVERY volunteer and then additional screening solutionsbased on the position. The fourscreening solutions are:

  • Social Security Verification which determines identity, address history and other names they have been known by.
  • National Criminal Database Search (this is a tool NOT a stand-alone screening program)
  • National Sex Offender Search
  • County Criminal Search

If you are paying $9-$15 then you are not meeting this minimum threshold and are exposing your ministry to risk.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

ajax-loader-largecaret-downcloseHamburger Menuicon_amazonApple PodcastsBio Iconicon_cards_grid_caretChild Abuse Reporting Laws by State IconChurchSalary Iconicon_facebookGoogle Podcastsicon_instagramLegal Library IconLegal Library Iconicon_linkedinLock IconMegaphone IconOnline Learning IconPodcast IconRecent Legal Developments IconRecommended Reading IconRSS IconSubmiticon_select-arrowSpotify IconAlaska State MapAlabama State MapArkansas State MapArizona State MapCalifornia State MapColorado State MapConnecticut State MapWashington DC State MapDelaware State MapFederal MapFlorida State MapGeorgia State MapHawaii State MapIowa State MapIdaho State MapIllinois State MapIndiana State MapKansas State MapKentucky State MapLouisiana State MapMassachusetts State MapMaryland State MapMaine State MapMichigan State MapMinnesota State MapMissouri State MapMississippi State MapMontana State MapMulti State MapNorth Carolina State MapNorth Dakota State MapNebraska State MapNew Hampshire State MapNew Jersey State MapNew Mexico IconNevada State MapNew York State MapOhio State MapOklahoma State MapOregon State MapPennsylvania State MapRhode Island State MapSouth Carolina State MapSouth Dakota State MapTennessee State MapTexas State MapUtah State MapVirginia State MapVermont State MapWashington State MapWisconsin State MapWest Virginia State MapWyoming State IconShopping Cart IconTax Calendar Iconicon_twitteryoutubepauseplay