Background Check

Policies and Procedures

Purpose

In his first letter to the Church of Corinth, St. Paul urges members of that community to engage in a way of life that will show outsiders the nature of the community which is to be a reflection of Jesus.  (From “Safeguarding God’s Children” for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas)

For the safety of the Hondurans we serve, our volunteers, staff, and the organization itself, Honduras Good Works will follow a screening process including a Background Check for any team member who (a) works with children, (b) handles money for the organization, and/or (c) drives a vehicle for Honduras Good Works purposes, whether in the United States, Honduras, or elsewhere.  That effectively means all volunteers who go on mission trips and all employees must be screened by a professionally administered background check.

Background checks will be used in combination with other tools where appropriate:  applications, references, interviews, training, evaluations/reviews, and job descriptions to screen candidates for volunteers and employment in the organization.

Policies

  1. Honduras Good Works reserves the right to automatically disqualify any volunteer or applicant for employment who has ever been convicted of any disqualifying offense, been on probation or received deferred adjudication for any disqualifying offense, or had presently pending any criminal charges of any disqualifying offense before a determination of guilt is made, including any person who is presently on deferred adjudication.
  2. Offenses reported in a background check that are not automatically disqualifying offenses will be reviewed by an Internal Review Board. Decisions on disqualifying a candidate for volunteer or employment are final.
  3. Background checks will be required for all employees and volunteers initially and repeated every five years.
  4. Those individuals holding current certification in Safeguarding God’s Children will be exempted from background checks.
  5. The Organization will submit Background Checks through a vendor that specializes in offering nonprofit organizations background check services and that subscribes to the major information database sources:  Multi-Jurisdictional Check covering 43 states for criminal records; Texas Department of Public Safety for arrests, convictions deferred adjudications, juvenile records, and warrants; Social Security verification; and Sexual Offender Database that covers all 50 states
  6. Honduras Good Works will comply with the terms and agreements implicit in receiving and handling the confidential nature of background checks.

Definitions

  1. The term “Organization” refers to Honduras Good Works.
  2. Automatically disqualifying offenses are sex related offenses, child related offenses, murder, and felony burglary/robbery/assault/fraud.  These crimes will result in automatic disqualification regardless of the existence of any extenuating circumstances. These offenses will be referred to a Category A offenses within the Organization.
  3. The Internal Review Board is a committee of three individuals: Chair of the Board, Spiritual Advisor, and Risk Management Committee Chair. 
  4. Offenses not included in Category A will be referred to as Category B offenses.  Category B offenses can include but are not limited to offenses related to drug and alcohol abuse, DUI, traffic violations and vehicular accident history, minor misdemeanors.

Procedures

  1. Administering background checks to volunteers and staff.
  • When hired or completing registration information to go on a mission trip, the volunteer/staff member must complete a “Background Verification Release Form” This form authorizes Honduras Good Works to conduct a background check on the individual and to send the results to the Organization.  Note:  a background check cannot occur without this authorization from the individual.
  • If the individual holds current Certification in Safeguarding God’s Children, it will be verified by the Risk Management Committee Chair.
  • Payment for background checks will be paid by the individual.  For mission trip participants, the cost will be included in the overall mission trip fee.
  1. The Risk Management Committee Chair will interface with the selected background checking vendor and receive all reports.
  2. Reports on Background Checks will be shredded within 30 days of receipt with no copies kept.
  3. Background Verification Release Forms will be kept in the Organization’s files for the required period of time.
  4. Candidates receiving a negative report will be notified by the Risk Management Committee Chair and the Internal Review Committee will be informed.
    1. The negative reports will be reviewed by the Internal Review Committee and their decisions will be final.
    2. The decisions of the Internal Review Board will be reported to the candidate by the Risk Management Committee Chair.
    3. Those candidates receiving a Category A negative report that warrants automatic disqualification will be given an opportunity to refute the report if he/she chooses.  A fingerprint check will be required.
    4. The Internal Review Board has the discretion to accept an individual with a Category B offense in a limited or restricted role.
    5. No information on background reports will be discussed beyond the Internal Review Board unless participation restrictions are applied to the individual.  For example, an individual with a DUI offense may be accepted as a volunteer but prohibited from driving for the Organization.
  5. Criteria the Internal Review Board will use for accepting/rejecting candidates with negative Category B offense report include:
  • Age of the individual when reported offense(s) occurred.
  • Length of time since offense occurred.
  • Good references
  • Record of achievement
  • Demonstrated history of behavior modification and rehabilitation as judged by the Internal Review Board.
  • Demonstrated history of community service and volunteer activism as judged by the Internal Review Board.

 

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