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Screening Teen Workers

How to select safe volunteers without a background check.

Most churches use minors to assist in various children's or youth programs, and so some screening should be done. You obviously cannot perform criminal records checks on persons under 18 years of age, and even for persons who are 18 or 19, a criminal records check will have limited significance. You really need to approach the screening of adolescents in a different manner. Let me suggest two options.

First, obtain two or three reference letters from persons who have seen the applicant interact with other minors (this would include church workers, coaches, school teachers, scout leaders, etc.). You want an opinion from such persons about the applicant's suitability for working with minors. Obviously, if you receive two or three references from such persons, you have very compelling evidence that you exercised reasonable care in the selection process, and in the final analysis, this ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • March 1, 2013

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