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.

Changes for Volunteers and Background Checks

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The state of Pennsylvania says background checks will be required for volunteers who work with young people.

The state’s new law means coaches, Sunday school teachers, tutors and other people who work with youths will need to undergo background checks. The law brings substantial changes to the state’s existing protective service law. The changes include expanding the list of “mandated reporters” required to report child abuse. It also requires volunteers, not just school personnel, to undergo background checks.

Under Pennsylvania law, the “mandated reporters” are currently people with direct or regular contact with youths through a service, program or activity. They are part of regularly scheduled events and accept responsibility for a child during the time of that activity.

The law requires a “mandated reporter” to make a report if necessary, rather than relying on a supervisor or organization to make the report.

Pennsylvania child-abuse clearance checks are required, as are Pennsylvania State Police criminal record checks. FBI criminal background checks may also be required, depending on the situation.

The changes in Pennsylvania simply reflect the importance for thorough background checks. They are certainly important in the employee screening process and we are seeing how important they are outside of that process as well.

Holiday Background Checks


The holiday season can be a busy hiring time for businesses that depend on seasonal employees. We’re talking about everything from extra counter and sales help to store Santas. The demand is high and positions need to be filled.

This is why this is such an important time of year for background checks. Employers need to exercise good judgment when making those seasonal hires. They should also consider the importance of thorough background checks.

Temp workers will often have access to an employer’s place of business. It’s like trusting someone inside your home. Those temporary employees may have access to some intellectual properties and receive training on specific business practices.

It goes beyond business practices. Stores, malls and charity organizations that hire seasonal Santa Clauses need to sure about hiring for a position that call for a great deal of time to be spent with children. Thorough background checks conducted by professionals are essential. Google searches won’t cut it. It’s all too easy to skip a background check in the interest of saving time. Yet, the same due diligence that would be done on an employee being considered for a full-time position should also be done on a part-time or seasonal employee. Employment classification should not matter.

Employee background checks and pre-employment screenings are an integral part of the hiring process. It’s about the safety of the employer, employee and customers. A thorough background check can prevent a negligent hiring lawsuit. It can ensure that person with a criminal background is not hired for a sensitive position, such as one that calls for spending time around children.

These are just some of the reasons it’s important to do due diligence before hiring that mall Santa Claus or adding that extra store cashier. Background checks can make for a safer holiday shopping seaso

Firefighter Background Checks

firefighter background check

The impact of background checks is making news in New York. Earlier this month, the governor of New York signed legislation into law that beefs up the vetting process for volunteer firefighter organizations.

What this basically means is this: Firefighters in New York will face stricter background checks. Applicants for volunteer firefighter positions will have to submit to a background for any prior sex convictions.

One of the reasons for the tougher vetting process are that firefighters are often doing their job among vulnerable individuals going through a stressful situation. These vulnerable individuals are often children. The firefighters often interact with children and families. Volunteer firefighters are also often active in the community, taking part in things like community and school events. The goal of the new law is to keep volunteer firefighter departments free from sex offenders and sexual predators.

A member of the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York says this new law will allow volunteer fire departments to expand the scope of existing checks for new hires.

The new legislation allows individual volunteer fire departments to determine if a prospective volunteer is eligible to become a volunteer member of the fire company if that person is found to have been convicted of a sex offense.
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The Fireman’s Association of the State of New York says the new law will allow volunteer fire chiefs to check existing public record information on registered sex offenders. It’s similar to how an arson background check is currently required for all volunteer firefighter candidates.

This serves an example on how background checks can benefit all organizations and employees, not just paid employees. The right background check is thorough and designed to safeguard business and workers. Background checks can also improve the safety and security of communities by checking on the background of those who serve the community.

A Background Check Pilot Program

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One local pilot program dealing with background checks is expanding on a national level.

Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration expanded a Philadelphia-area pilot program nationally in hopes of baring criminals from controlling benefits on behalf of the elderly and disabled.

The program was launched in Pennsylvania nearly two years ago after four mentally disabled people were rescued from a basement. The four had been held captive as part of a scheme to steal social security benefits.

Here’s how the pilot program works: Potential “representative payees” who collect disability payments for people who can’t handle their own finances are rejected if they’ve committed one or more of a dozen crimes. The crimes include sexual assault, kidnapping, first-degree homicide, identity theft and various types of fraud charges.

One potential hang-up with the program is the fact that the Social Security Administration does not have access to the FBI’s criminal database. That’s because the agency is not considered law enforcement. Instead, Social Security employees must rely on public records and private, third-party databases. Some of these databases are outdated or unreliable.

The Social Security Administration says the pilot program has been a success. However, screeners have flagged less than one percent of the 34,850 applicants.

One Senator from Pennsylvania says expansion is a plus and that the program needs to be monitored. He also says the programs needs to make sure that every person who applies to be a representative is subjected to a criminal background check. This program bears watching in the weeks and months ahead.

Background checks continue to make headlines for a variety of reasons. Background checks and pre-employment screenings have just become a common of the hiring practice of many businesses. Checking potential employees through reliable background checks helps eliminate the “wrong hire” and reduces the risk of hiring lawsuits. It also helps increase workplace security.