Case Study: Protecting America’s Children with Improved Screening Services

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Affiliates Take Background Checks to the Next Level

by Sonya D. Van Norden

For Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), the nation’s fastest-growing youth service organization serving more than 4.4 million children, background checks are a critical component in creating a safe haven for its members and providing peace of mind for their parents. Unfortunately, criminal records research is notoriously limited, expensive, and sluggish.

BGCA’s affiliates, representing some 3,700 club locations, were challenged to find a way to speed up the process and maintain accuracy without breaking the bank. In their search for a more sophisticated background check solution, a handful of affiliates earlier this year stumbled across a technology that would not only enhance their core process but also take their screening program to new heights.

BGCA mandates that all of its affiliates screen employees and volunteers at least once every two years. While this provides some assurance, it’s not always enough. Courts are notorious for being entangled in red tape, so it can take months, sometimes years, for an infraction to be reported. Moreover, people are dynamic. It’s dangerous to assume a person with a clean record will keep it that way. Some BGCA affiliates wanted to close these gaps in the flow of valuable information by conducting checks more routinely.

While more frequent screening was needed, as a non-profit organization the chapter budgets were too tight to support manual ongoing monitoring. Regular screening of thousands of volunteers and employees would be financially impossible since numerous, costly hand searches would have to be conducted for each person in each county in which they had resided over the past 7 to 10 years.

Turnaround time was critical for BGCA. The volume of new volunteers and employees is high, and there is usually an immediate need to fill open positions. Many of the affiliates have access to the FBI or state police for screening, but these solutions rely on fingerprinting or other tedious processes that can take weeks to provide results. Moreover, the FBI’s database has often been deemed limited in scope and accuracy by third-party researchers.

Verified Person’s VPassure provided a background screening solution that for the first time enabled Boys & Girls Clubs affiliates to accurately and cost-effectively conduct both pre-employment and frequent ongoing criminal checks of their employees and volunteers. Instead of relying on outdated manual processes typically used for criminal screening, Verified Person’s solution leverages its proprietary, advanced screening technology combined with a criminal record database to automate the process and deliver faster, more reliable search results.

An increasing number of court houses have embraced the digital revolution. Verified Person has undergone the arduous task of aggregating and standardizing criminal record data directly from state-and county-level courts, covering nearly 76 percent of the U.S. adult population. In addition to providing BGCA with the ability to perform continuous and streamlined searching, the solution allows affiliates to specify which criminal offenses are most pertinent to company policy and to be alerted to new infractions in real-time. To increase accuracy and eliminate frustrating false positives, Verified Person matches court records against a detailed profile of the individual in question that includes date of birth, aliases, and a complete address history.

Verified Person is applying technology and the pace of business to bureaucratic criminal records collection and management processes, so Boys & Girls Clubs can close gaps in information flow and mitigate a myriad of threats. Now, instead of screening employees and volunteers pre-hire and once every two years, 20 BGCA affiliates are screening each person as often as twice a month, or 24+ times per person per year. Since the solution leverages efficient screening technology, Verified Person is providing this service at an extremely low cost, eliminating concern over budget constraints. As one of the first organizations to deploy ongoing criminal and sex offender screening, these Boys & Girls Clubs affiliates can feel secure that they’re doing everything they can to protect the children and communities they serve. With the initial success, word of the new screening solution is spreading throughout the
organization to other affiliates.

 

Tips on Cutting through the Background Check Clutter
1) Be wary of providers that contend hand-searches are always necessary. It’s the equivalent of a cab driver taking the longer route to charge a higher price.

2) Check to make sure the provider’s data is up-to-date, comprehensive, and accurate. All databases are not created equal, and many companies license their data from unreliable sources.

3) Keep in mind that any criminal records found through a digital search must be verified by obtaining a physical court record (e.g. by sending a court runner).

4) Conduct background checks on your provider to ensure the company has credibility, financial strength, and customer references.

5) Ensure that your background check provider is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other state and federal laws regarding the use of information.

6) The digital revolution is changing the screening industry. Conduct periodic audits of your screening provider to be sure you’re still getting the best information and service at the lowest price.

For more information on the benefits and steps to conducting ongoing personnel screening, download the whitepaper “Taking the Next Step in Employee Screening: The Why and How for Conducting Post-Hire Criminal Record Checks and Related Investigations” at: http://www.verifiedperson.com/VerificationTool/vpwebsite/VPWhitePaper.pdf
Posted November 10, 2005 in Talent Acquisition

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