Screening Volunteers for Visitation Ministries
Do we need to do background checks on adults who will be visiting shut-ins?

Question:
At a recent ministry seminar, it was recommended that a criminal background check be performed on adult volunteers who visit other adults in homes, hospitals and convalescent homes. Our church screens all employees and volunteers who work with children. Are we required to do the same for adults who are engaged in a visitation ministry that's directed toward other adults?

Answer:
There are two things you should consider when determining who you should screen:

What's required? First, you'll want to look at any applicable law in your state that requires worker screening. By examining such laws, you can determine the specific situations in which worker screening is required. For a simple ministry visitation program, in which non-professional volunteers or employees go to hospitals and nursing homes to call on sick and needy adults, it's unlikely that any criminal background check of such workers is legally required.

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Posted: March 24, 2010

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