The rising popularity of background checks has given rise to new trends for vetting new hires and employees by organizations across the U.S.The growth of background checks also permeates other areas such as screening of volunteers, contractors, business partners, board members, housing tenants and even purchasers of guns. Here’s a list of the latest 10 ten trends for 2013 complied by First Contact HR.
They’re being called the “perversion files” – a record of previously confidential files listing the names of 1,200 Boy Scout of America officials and scoutmasters who are accused of abusing young boys over a period of two decades.
The files released Thursday, October 19 contain more than 15,000 pages detailing accusations of the sexual abuse against scout leaders and officials between 1965 and 1985. The list of names in the documents were deemed “ineligible volunteers” and include those who are accused of sexual abuse towards the minors they came into contact with during boy scout meetings and functions.
Police are now responding to 523 of the alleged cases. The files were kept confidential – until now – and represent all that the Boy Scouts of America could have done to protect their young members, but didn’t. Continue reading
Over the past five years, the hit rate for criminal background checks has been on the decline as more nonprofit organizations background check their new hires. A recent study’s, data showed that from 2007 to 2011, more than 5.4 million background checks we conducted by nonprofits and 22 percent of those checks resulted in criminal hits.
Of that 22 percent (approximately 479,000), background checks revealed very serious kidnapping, murder, sex-related and drug-related offenses. While it is shocking to know that criminals who have been convicted of kidnapping or molestation could be working amongst children, elders and people in need, we know that criminals go where they know they can get in “under the radar” – organizations [they know] do not conduct background checks.
In organizations working with children, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, background checks are a must; the study found that 1,021 of the criminal hits were registered sex offenders, 603 convictions for kidnapping and 1,176 murder offenses.
What’s more is that between 2007 and 2011, 22 percent of those criminal hits also included 91,607 drug-related offenses including possession and distribution and 10,438 sex-related offenses. These figures are certainly eye-opening, but the good news is that these were hits, and thus these individuals were barred from employment at the nonprofits where they applied to work. Additionally, the number of criminals has declined over the past five years by 7 percent, according to the study.
The drop in criminal hits is attributed by the nonprofits’ use of background screening programs. When criminals know that nonprofits are conducting background checks, they seek employment somewhere else, so it is important for nonprofits to speak with background screening providers in order to mitigate risk, protect their reputations and those they seek to help.
Imagine you discovered the owner of your child’s daycare center was a convicted felony on such crime as battery, assault, domestic violence, grand theft and even manslaughter. Would this information prompt you to pause or re-consider the daycare center you select?
While you might assume that the state in which you live does a thorough background check on daycare owners and employees, you’ll be surprised to know that only 11 states in the U.S. conduct full background checks on potential daycare workers.
In an investigative report conducted by Dateline’s Chris Hansen, many daycares’ true colors were exposed when the investigative team questioned daycare owner’s criminal histories. In one case, it was revealed that Brighter Beginnings Pre School in Clearwater, Florida owner, Melissa Van Cleave has convictions for battery, domestic violence and a DUI, yet is still able to run her daycare.
Under The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, arrest records should only be used as a bar from employment if pertinent to the position. Child care-related crimes such as sex abuse, battery and manslaughter, for example, could be a bar from employment in the child care industry. Even if your state conducts a background check on a daycare center, it’s important as a parent to ask the right question such as the type of background check conducted, do research, and occasionally visit the daycare unannounced.
Here are some surprising statistics about background checks and child care providers:
- About 12 million children under the age of 5 are in some type of child care setting every week.
- Children may be cared for by an adult other than a parent for 35-45 hours each week.
- 21 states do not conduct fingerprint checks.
- 43 states do not check the sex offender registry for child care staff.
- 24 states do not conduct a fingerprint check for family child care providers.
Most often the First Contact HR blog reports on trends, topics and news relating to background screening and other human resource practices for businesses. However, the need to background screen is not only pertinent to companies seeking to screen employees and applicants, but also to individuals and families seeking to hire a responsible person to provide part-time or full-time services such as childcare, elder care or home-cleaning services.
The need to hire responsible childcare providers is on the rise as the economy continues to rebound and parents find themselves once again gainfully employed. The decision to hire a qualified individual to watch over children while parents and or guardians are absent is one that should not be taken lightly.
The need to screen the individual who will provide childcare to minors is very important and highly recommended. Only two months into the year 2012, and the U.S. has already seen a high number of breaking news stories dealing with unfortunate incidents involving babysitters.
Here are some recent headlines and stories:
Montco Man Charged With Molesting Girl While Advertising Online As Babysitter
After advertising for babysitting jobs, a local man is accused of molesting a child he was supposed to be caring for. We are now learning our reporting is prompting a major online investigation. Read more
Babysitter sentenced to 40 years in prison for toddler’s death
A Springfield woman convicted of murdering an 18-month-old boy for whom she was babysitting was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison. Read more
Babysitter sentenced to 10 years for shaking baby
Washington state woman, who admitted to violently shaking a baby left in her care, received the maximum sentence of 10 years. ”She murdered who my child was supposed to be,” said the child’s mother, Jaime Thompson. Read more
Babysitter pleads not guilty to murder
The 28-year-old Hardin County babysitter who police say beat to death the little girl she was caring for answered to her upgraded charges. Ashley Chapman pled not guilty to murder Tuesday morning. Read more
So what can parents do to protect their children and ensure that those they interview or even find online are trustworthy? Certainly, you can start by hiring a reputable firm to perform a background check on the individual.
Here are some things to keep in mind when performing a babysitter background check:
- You’ll need to get written permission from the applicant prior to performing a background check
- To obtain the most relevant job-related information such as motor vehicle records and sex offender registry information, you will need to obtain information such as previous addresses the applicant lived, a social security number, and birth date.
- Ask prospective babysitters to provide references from previous employers (not friends and family).
- Ask question about work ethic, previous employment responsibility, etc.
- Determine the type of background check you will perform. Background checks can range from a simple social security trace to a full package, thoroughly investigating the individual’s history. Contact a background screening firm such as First Contact HR to either perform the check, or advise you on what background screening plan you should put together.
With sites like Sittercity.com and Care.com, it’s impossible to know the full history of an individual you find online – even after the interview process. Let a background screening and human resource consulting firm help you be certain that you’ve hired the right person to childcare to precious members of your family.
After applying to a volunteer coaching position in May 2010 at Juaniata College in Huntingdon, PA, college officials who did their due-diligence turned Jerry Sandusky down. Hiring personnel at the college denied Sandusky the position after conducting a background investigation and were made aware of the ex-Penn State assistant coach’s alleged improper behavior at a previous school.
Sandusky is currently at the forefront of a sexual abuse scandal, where he is being charged with 40 counts of molestation charges towards young boys over a 15-year period.
Although he failed a background check and was told by the Pennsylvania college’s administrators that they did not want him associated with their sports program, Sandusky still managed to serve as a “consultant.” Read more
In light of the events that have unfolded at Penn State and Syracuse Universities, it is important to recognize the unfortunate events that occurred, but also shed light on how the scandals happened. The incident has shocked the country – Penn State University’s former football coach, Jerry Sandusky is being charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse towards minors and the university’s revered football coach, Joe Paterno was fired.
Sandusky is the pinpoint in a wide-ranging investigation that involves eight boys over a 15-year period. Similarly, Syracuse University authorities allegedly ignored sex abuse allegations in 2002 against basketball coach Bernie Fine. A former ball boy for Syracuse University, Bobby Davis, and his girlfriend at the time, claim to have gone to university police back in 2002 with child-molestation allegations. The two have decided to come forward again in response to the media spectacle at Penn State – this time, hoping they will be heard.
The allegations facing administrators at both universities are cause for any parent or school to worry especially when the trust and care of minors are involved. The reaction to these two events by parents is overwhelming – many are questioning the hiring process for the administrators, teachers, coaches and the like who spend time with children. The incidents that have occurred also highlight the lack of background checks performed on individuals who work closely with children.
In one case, a group of parents whose children participate in Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks programs are demanding the adoption of background checks for all coaches and volunteers (Read more). In another recent case, Hollywood casting assistant, Jason James Murphy has caused anxiety amongst the parents of child actors who worked under Murphy. Murphy is a convicted child molester who served five years in prison for kidnapping and molesting an 8 year old boy. Parents of child actors are especially concerned since the casting process is typically a time where a child would be unsupervised by a parent or guardian (Read more).
Had background checks including federal court criminal records searches, statewide criminal records searches and criminal history reports, been performed some of these events could have been avoided. It is important to question whether or not background checks are performed amongst those our society trusts with minors to help eliminate the chances of pedophiles and predators preying on children.
A new law signed by Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett, mandates background checks on public, private and vocational school workers. School district administrators must notify all employees of the law and return a form reporting any criminal history to the Pennsylvania State Education Association completed by employees. Certain convictions will lead to employment suspensions or even termination including first-, second-, or third-degree felonies, aggravated assault, kidnapping, and other crimes. Read more
How background checks are conducted in Clark County, Nevada Schools.
The Las Vegas Sun investigates how background checks are done, after a teacher in a Clark County school was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and theft of school property. In an investigative interview, the chief human resources officer and former interim chief human resources officer of the Clark County School District answered questions on their background check procedures. Read more
Update: Background Checks Dealing with School Workers Clarified.
A new law, §1-111 Act 24 of 2011, mandates that all Pennsylvania elementary schools must background screen all new hires and existing staff for criminal history. The form that current staff must fill out asks employees to check “arrested,” “convicted,” “never been arrested,” or “never been convicted,” however the law states that only convictions of employees need to be reported. In a response to concerns surrounding this contradiction, a statement was released to clarify the law.
A publication from Fox Rothschild LLP states that “these amendments restrict those people that a school is allowed to hire, but they have almost no direct impact on the employment of those already employed. Some school administrators have mistakenly stated that these amendments require schools to fire a current employee where a prior conviction for a barred offense comes to light. While this may be true in some limited cases, it is generally not so, and neither this statute nor the companion provision in §5-527 requires termination of employment.” Read more
Convicted felon employed at middle school steals jewelry, computers
After a middle school janitor was charged in connection to jewelry and computer thefts, the School Committee Chairman of a Massachusetts school wants to know more about the school’s criminal background screening procedures. Court documents showed that the janitor pled guilty to assault and battery and breaking and entering charges in the past. Also, he was allegedly in an outpatient drug treatment program for an opiates addiction. Initial reports in the same case were for stolen MacBook Computers, iPads and other equipment. How did a criminal get employed at an elementary school? Read more
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About: First Contact HR provides employment screening services, including drug and alcohol testing, identity validations, criminal and credit records research, attitude and knowledge testing, driving records, identification badges and employment and education verifications.