Are Background Checks Required for Youth Sports Coaches?

children sports coaches background checksMany children of all ages participate in youth sports through their schools or community organizations. Parents enroll their kids in sports to develop their athletic abilities and to teach values like teamwork and social skills. Parents expect their children to be safe and to be trained and supervised by people who are responsible and trustworthy.

Background Checks Are Not Always Required

One way to ensure that children are coached by qualified and responsible people is to conduct background checks. Many parents assume that anyone who works with children has to undergo a background check, but that is not always the case. State laws vary on whether or not background checks are required for volunteer athletic coaches who work with children. Some states require background checks, but many do not. Some youth sports leagues and organizations require background checks for anyone who wishes to coach children’s sports, but policies are not universal.

Why Your Organization Should Conduct Background Checks

If you run a youth sports team or league, you should require thorough background checks on anyone who wants to coach children’s sports, even if your state or local laws do not require it. Organizations that serve children have a responsibility to do everything they can to keep them safe. Conducting background checks is one way that athletic organizations can practice due diligence to keep kids safe from people who have criminal records or who are in sex offender registries. Knowing that organizations conduct thorough background checks can discourage people who could be threats to children from applying for coaching positions and can give parents peace of mind.

Data Check Can Conduct Background Checks on Coaches

Data Check conducts thorough background checks on applicants for positions in many industries, including full-time and part-time workers and volunteers, such as coaches. We can search criminal records to identify applicants with prior convictions and let you know if anyone who applied for a coaching position is a registered sex offender. We can also conduct drug testing to make sure that people who coach children are not using drugs that could affect their behavior and judgment and put the safety of children in their care in jeopardy.

We can conduct background checks quickly so that you will be able to recruit and hire coaches and then get right to work training for the upcoming season. If you need to conduct background checks on prospective coaches who will be working with children, contact Data Check today to get started.

Employment Background Checks and Applicants’ Rights

background check applicant rightsMany companies conduct background checks on job applicants before making offers of employment. The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal law that governs employment-related background checks. The law explains what information can be obtained, how it can be used, and what protections job applicants have.

An employer may ask for information on an applicant’s employment history, education, criminal record, financial history, medical history, and use of social media. Employers may not treat applicants differently on the basis of race, national origin, gender, religion, disability, genetic information, or age, if the applicant is over 40.

Before an employer obtains a background check report, the company must tell the applicant that the information might be used to make a decision on whether or not to offer employment. The applicant must give written permission to conduct a background check. An applicant may refuse to give permission, but the employer may reject the application for employment.

If an employer decides not to hire, retain, or promote a person because of information in a background check, it must give the person a copy of the report and a ”Summary of Rights.” If the applicant finds a mistake in the background report, he or she can ask the company to fix it and notify the employer.

If an applicant is rejected for employment based on criminal history or financial information, the employer must provide the name, address, and phone number of the company that provided the information and say that the company did not make the decision on the adverse action. The applicant has the right to dispute the information in the report and to obtain a free report from the company that provided it.

If you believe your rights related to a background check have been violated, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Government to Increase Oversight of Background Check Industry in 2016

background check government oversightGovernment oversight of the background check industry is expected to increase in 2016. Federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will increase emphasis on accuracy in background checks, especially related to criminal records.

Regulators, legislators, and advocacy groups are concerned about false positives, in which a criminal record is reported without sufficient indicators that the record applies to the subject of the background check. A record might also be reported that has been expunged or set aside. False negatives, in which a criminal record is not reported, are also cause for concern.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires background check firms to use reasonable procedures to obtain the best possible accuracy. Companies that fail to take reasonable steps to ensure accuracy can violate the FCRA.

In October 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered two of the largest background check firms in the United States to pay $13 million for not taking steps to ensure the accuracy of information reported on background checks for prospective employees. The two firms consented to the order but did not admit any wrongdoing.

In another case, the U.S. Department of Justice and a background check contractor settled a case for $30 million in August 2015. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management claimed that the background check company did not perform quality control reviews on background check investigations and violated the False Claims Act. The company allegedly released cases to OPM as complete when they were not. OPM said it issued payments and contract incentives that it would not have if it had known that the background checks were incomplete. The company did not admit liability.

The focus on improving accuracy also applies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI’s database, the National Crime Information Center, often does not have information on criminal convictions. A 2013 report by the National Employment Law Project found that nearly 600,000 of the almost 17 million employment background checks the FBI processed in 2012 contained inaccurate information and about 1.8 million workers were subjected to inaccurate background checks every year.

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners has created the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program to maintain high standards and accountability. A group of about 200 consumer reporting agencies have adopted the voluntary standards and pledged not to use information from databases unless they have verified that it is accurate, complete, and up to date.

Connecticut Creates Background Check Program for Long-term Care Workers

long-term care background checks ConnecticutThe Connecticut Department of Public Health has created a comprehensive program to check the backgrounds of employees at long-term care facilities. The new program is intended to better protect elderly and disabled residents by helping providers identify applicants with criminal convictions or histories of patient abuse or neglect. It applies to nursing homes, residential care homes, home health agencies, assisted living service agencies, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, long-term care hospitals, and hospice providers.

The Department of Public Health has worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to create the Applicant Background Check Management System. The web-based program allows long-term care facilities to submit information on applicants or volunteers and to use fingerprints to check criminal records and registries. Long-term care facilities that are subject to the background check program need to register with the background check management system.

The program is supported by a grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the National Background Check Program. Employers will be able to conduct background checks free of charge until grant funds run out. After that, employers will need to pay $80 per applicant.

The program was created in response to a new state law that requires employers to conduct a national background check for all prospective direct care employees or volunteers. The check must include a search of state and federal criminal records, abuse and neglect registries, and databases such as the Connecticut Nurse Aide Registry.

Before the system was created, each care facility decided whether to conduct background checks. Most did so by using sites that sometimes allowed people with criminal records to slip through the cracks.

Home Care & Background Checks

microscope background check

There is hope that a new law in one state will help protect seniors from the unregulated areas of the home health care industry.

The new law in Arizona requires non-medical in-home caregiver agencies to disclose information to consumers about background checks, training, cost of service and hiring and firing policies. This supply of information is not a one-time thing. It must be done on an annual basis.

One member of an in-home care association says the law is a good first step of transparency. It should help people feel safer when they set up in-home care for a loved one.

Disclosure notices have already gone out to new clients and this policy will continue. Again, the law is relatively new. It was just signed into law on April 1st of this year. The law applies to non-medical in-home care agencies and not to private individual caregivers. The disclosure form is also not required from specific home health care services, senior living facilities and clients who receive care and services through federal or state programs.

If agencies give those disclaimers to consumers, they are in violation of the law. Arizona is not unique in offering some sort of protection. Many states require certification for non-medical caregiver agencies.

If nothing else, the law should increase safety and should the importance of thorough background checks.