*Warning: This blog post contains statistics on child sexual assault that may be triggering for some viewers. Read with caution.
What could be more important than keeping the young members of your church safe? Yet, most churches don’t have a training process for youth volunteers. These volunteers are added to children and youth teams without a proper vetting system in place. When you don’t check a volunteer’s credentials or background, you’re gambling with introducing a potential risk to one of your church’s most vulnerable populations.
When you fail to vet a church volunteer, you fail to understand whether they possess the ethical qualities needed to lead a child or youth group. We want to protect your church’s young population from harm. Keep reading to learn ways to create a safe environment for children and youth, the risks of not vetting volunteers, and how church volunteer background screening can bring peace of mind to your church or parish.
Offering a Secure Environment for Children and Youth
When you drop your child off at school, you trust that the teachers and other staff have your child’s best interest at heart. The same should be said about your church’s children and youth volunteers. You need to establish your child and youth organizations as a safe and secure environment in order to achieve total confidence from congregants in your ministry.
The idea of a “secure environment” is a broad and somewhat confusing term. While many aspects of church life vary from congregation to congregation, the elements of a secure environment should be the same. At the center, a secure environment starts with your volunteers. You should know important, personal information on your prospective volunteers such as:
- Do they have any criminal convictions
- Are they on the National Sex Offender Registry
- Are their identity and social security number verifiable
By knowing this information, you’re ensuring congregants that their kids will be properly cared for by trustworthy people. While manually checking each reference could be time-co
nsuming and difficult, there’s a better way to secure safety. The best and easiest way to gain this information is through background checks.
The Case for Background Screening Youth Volunteers
Running a background check on volunteers is the key step in protecting your congregation. While you can ask volunteers specific questions about their background, you can’t know for sure if they’re presenting the most accurate information. Background screening removes that and other “what-ifs” to help you understand your youth volunteers’ true identities.
While you may wish that everyone who walks through your doors is trustworthy, that sadly isn’t the case. Currently, in the U.S., there are 42 million children who have survived a sexual assault. According to recent statistics, children ages 7 to 13 are the most vulnerable to sexual assaults, and of assaulted adolescents, 3 out of 4 were harmed by someone they personally knew.
While harrowing, these statistics show the importance of knowing a volunteer’s background before allowing them to serve. Background screening prospective children and youth volunteers could prevent a predator from accessing one of (if not) the most vulnerable populations.
Running a Background Check on Your Youth Volunteers
With the right resources, implementing a background screening process on your volunteers is quick and easy. ACS Technologies and our partner, Verified First, offer a range of screening packages to vet prospective volunteers. Specifically, our Children and Youth Volunteer package is designed for anyone wanting to work with that demographic.
Through implementing this package, you’ll gain important information like if an applicant has been convicted of any crimes, if they’re on the National Sex Offender Registry, and more. You can start protecting your church today in three easy steps.
- Evaluating your church’s screening needs – Protecting your congregants begins with determining the needed coverage.
- Identifying your integrated solution – Verified First manages all background checks and screens through an integration with ACS Technologies church management solutions.
- Sign up – And start running background checks today!
We understand how important it is to protect vulnerable populations, and we want to help you establish safe spaces within your church for children and youth. Our Children and Youth Volunteer package can be trusted to identify the best and most trustworthy candidates that instill confidence in your church’s congregants about your adolescent programs.
Expanding Your Coverage to All Volunteers and Staff
With a screening procedure for children and youth volunteers covered, consider expanding your checks to others within your church. Screening all volunteer teams and leadership staff can extend the protection to the rest of your congregation. Along with our Children and Youth Volunteer package, we have two other packages specifically for church volunteer and staff screening.
- Serving Volunteer – best used for volunteers in greeting or hospitality roles
- Leadership and Staff – best used for staff or other church leaders
These packages provide the same baseline screens as our Children and Youth Volunteer package, like criminal convictions check and identity verification, as well as other screens specific to each role. They will help create safe spaces for all people groups within your church and bring peace of mind to your church body.
When it comes to vulnerable populations like children and youth, you can never be too careful. Screening volunteer candidates is the most thorough way to create a secure environment in your church for kids. When utilizing our background screening packages, such as our Children and Youth Volunteer package, you’re working toward building a safe place for volunteers, staff, church-goers, and all within your church body.
Verified First is the leading comprehensive background screening processor partnered with ACS Technologies. Together, we lead the market in knowing how best to help churches manage, grow, and protect their church with easy-to-use, integrated solutions. Verified First has received accreditation and is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). This accreditation means Verified First has dedicated itself to providing the highest level of standards in the following areas: information security, legal and compliance, client education, researcher and data standards, verification services, and business practices.