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.