Volunteer Background Checks

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by fredtgreco, Feb 27, 2009.

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  1. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    Our church will. They have the policy in place and anyone involved with children will be required to have one done. My previous non-denominational church tried it and it was met with friction. There were a number of ex-convicts but their issue was one of privacy. None had any charges which dealt with children but they felt once their past was revealed they would be treated differently...and they were.
  2. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Yes, for officer candidates and anyone who is volunteering to work with children. The list may be larger; those are the only categories with which I am familiar.
  3. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Hmmm. I see the point of objections based on the involvement of the state, and I see the need from the possiblity of litigation. Would a background check through a private provider solve that problem? I know they're out there. It is a sad state of affairs that we've come to this, but come to this we have.
  4. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Awwww, man! I was hoping you were going to do a background check - and possibly a credit check - on all potential members as part of the process to determine if they are good enough to "make the team." :p
  5. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, I also know from experience just because a person has a background check done it doesn't really mean anything.

    I know of an instance in a church where someone was a volunteer with the youth, had a background check done, nothing was found, the reason being is they just hadn't been caught--it was found out later they were molesting their own child..they hadn't touched any other children..but that didn't matter..so yes, sometimes, the background checks can be misleading..and give a false sense of security..

    But at the same time, it has also been a deterrent for others when they know they will do a back ground check..we had someone come in to apply for a position at our church, and when they were told we do back ground checks they left..they went to a different church and applied--and hired, they didn't do a back ground check..someone who went to the church recognized the person as someone who had been on the news a few months earlier..for molesting children at a local daycare (the former daycare had been closed down, and the person was out of jail on bond)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Wow, I guess I am naive. This is the first time I have ever heard of background checks for any sort of church service.

    Is this the norm? What percentage of churches do this?
  7. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I'd be willing to guess that most churches that have significant liability insurance policies do it, because insurance companies hate defending these kind of cases.
  8. matt01

    matt01 Puritan Board Senior

    I agree completely.

    Our current church does not require checks for nursery workers; previous churches (mid sized) have required the checks. We do require the workers to be members, or in some cases the teenage children of members.

    Optimally, I would see all members who work with children or youth, including the pastor(s), have a full background check. Other ideas posted above are nice, but the check is necessary.

    This is why other safeguards need to be in place:

    *More than one person
    *married members working together
    *video cameras
    *signing children in/out
  9. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    WOw! How many churches have liability insurance?
  10. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    It is not unusual at all, these days. Someone slips in the parking lot, spills coffee on a visitor, or, worse (Catholic dioceses are going bankrupt in some places--they were self-insured). If you have a "program" inviting the public to participate, your church is exposed as well.

    When I started practicing law about 17 years ago, you could still raise a church immunity defense. That's pretty much gone in most states. (I think--at least it is gone in the west).

    Our firm has had more than 6 church lawsuits come in last year. They are targets.
  11. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Wow, I guess Pentecostals need to take out more liability since they jump around a lot more (more chances for slips and falls).

    The church in my village just fell over due to high winds. The vines gave way and the walls collapsed. No one sued though.
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