The Healthy Church Hub

Child safety should be a top priority for any children’s ministry, and background screening is a vital tool to help identify potential risks to children’s safety. Screening not only protects children but also the volunteers, staff, and the organization as a whole. 

In today’s world, where child abuse and neglect are becoming increasingly prevalent, it is critical that kids’ ministry takes every precaution necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of children. Therefore, background screening is a critical step in the selection process for individuals working with children in ministry. 

Here are ten tips to help you get started with background checks:

  1. Screen everyone.

Children’s ministry workers of every rank and file should have a background check complete — from teachers and helpers to van drivers and kitchen workers. Anyone who is helping out around children during kids’ activities should have passed a background screening.

  1. Rescreen your volunteers.

It’s recommended to run checks each year. If your screening provider integrates well with your church software, it will be easy to pull a list of previous years’ volunteers whose background checks are outdated and quickly re-check them. Additionally, ensure your screening service monitors automatically on a monthly basis to help identify new crimes. This will keep you safe for additional events at your church throughout the year.

  1. Find a Screening Provider that Integrates with your Church Software.

When your screening provider integrates with your church software, you should be able to pull a list of volunteers in your church software and click “request a background check.” With an effective integration, the results are then sent to you and stored securely in your database.

  1. Save Church Staff Time and Money, and Protect Volunteer Privacy.

Use a screening service that allows volunteers to fill in their sensitive information but ensures their info won’t be shared. On another note, offers them the option to donate to your ministry by choosing to cover all or part of the screening cost.

  1. Use Multiple Layers of Screening

Multiple background check sources need to be searched to fill in database gaps and to help uncover potential new information. Checking the NSOPW registry, Nationwide, and courthouse records is a good place to start. If your background screening company only scans one database, there are many potential gaps that could result. 

  1. Don’t Trust Instant Checks

Services that tout near-immediate results are from online or stale aggregated databases and are often inaccurate and out of date, sometimes by several years. If you want to keep children safe, background checks need to be as thorough as possible.

  1. Have a Background Screening Policy and Publicize It

Churches can be a target for criminals because they expect the church to be more trusting or lack the necessary resources. Publish your background check policy online to deter those with ill intent from volunteering in the first place. If a potential volunteer has a criminal record, they may think twice before trying to serve with children.

  1. Validate Identities

Most background checks are based on an individual’s name and date of birth, so validating a person’s identity via a government-issued ID is essential. This is also important because multiple people with the same name could show up as a result, so you’ll want to be sure it is the correct person.

  1. Promote Transparency

Ensure all parties — the organization and the individual — receive a copy of the background check report. 

  1. Encourage Sharing

Save your church staff and your volunteers additional time and money. Encourage individuals to share their background checks with other organizations they volunteer with. Likewise, consider accepting recent background checks that meet your policy’s standards.

Next Steps

For information on how quality volunteer background checks can help your church create a safer environment for your children’s ministry, contact Ministry Brands today!