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Minors and Background Checks

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There are many times our risk management policies require different rules for background checks based on the age of the volunteer.  A simple example, might be to run background checks on adults (18 and above) but exempt those who are under 18.  This article will explore a more complicated policy where we never background check volunteers under the age of 14, manually run checks for minors between the ages of 14 and 18 and allow self-application of background checks for individuals 18 or older.

VolunteerMatters allows the ability to integrate with 3rd party systems for the self-application of background checks.  Some of them vary their rules on whether or not they allow self application of minors (under 18) because of the necessity for parental/guardian consent.  For the purpose of this article, we will assume that all background checks for minors (below 18) require a staff-initiated background check which requires a more manual process to get consent/disclosure and sensitive information (i.e., SSN)

VolunteerMatters allows you to configure different 'Credentials' that may be required of all volunteers or for specific volunteer opportunities (shifts, positions, items and tasks).  There are several types of credentials:  Agreements (any statement that must be electronically agreed to or signed), Certifications (any requirement where documentation must be provided/uploaded - e.g., drivers license, medical certification), Learning (integrated, 3rd party online learning courses), and Background Checks (integrated, 3rd party self-application).  In this instance we will only be talking about Background Check credentials.  

Screen_Shot_2018-07-20_at_4.00.42_PM.pngWhen setting up a credential, you can set an exemption policy based on age. The policy can be to exempt an individual if their current age is below or above the specified number of years. For example, you currently have a background check credential from which individuals below the age of 18 are excluded. This means that every person under the age of 18 that attempts to volunteer for something where this credential is a requirement will automatically be exempted from that credential until they have reached the age of 18 (as determined by the date of birth on their contact record). When they are over 18, if they were to attempt to volunteer for anything that requires that credential, they will be prompted to fill out a background check application. 

For the purpose of this article, let us consider a more complex set of background check policies based on the age of the volunteer.

Policy Scenarios:
Scenario A: You must be 14 years or older to volunteer for this opportunity. The volunteer opportunity requires a background check for all volunteers over the age of 14.

Scenario B: Volunteers can be any age. The volunteer opportunity requires a background check for all volunteers over the age of 14. All volunteers under the age of 14 are exempt from the background check requirement.

Credential Configuration:
1.  You can create an integrated background check credential with VolunteerMatters assistance for all adult volunteers. Lets label this credential "Background Check".

"Background Check" Suggested Configuration:

  • Type: Integrated Background Check
  • Name: Background Check
  • Agree-To Statement:Set this language in accordance with your state and federal law for background check consent.
  • Disclosure Statement: Set this language in accordance with your state and federal law for background check disclosures.
  • Signature Type: Full Name
  • Age of Consent: 18
  • Default Status: Review
  • Expiration Policy: Duration
  • Expires after: 12 months
  • Age Exemption Limit: 18
  • Exemption Age Direction: Below
  • Active: True

2.  You can create a non-integrated background check credential to notify volunteers under 18 that a background check will have to be run manually by your staff via your 3rd party background check provider's interface.

"Background Check - Under 18" Suggested Configuration:

  • Type: Background Check
  • Name: Background Check - Under 18
  • Agree-to Statement: This volunteer opportunity requires a criminal background check. The date of birth we have on record for you indicates you are under the age of 18 and therefore requires a staff person to run the check on your behalf. Your volunteer assignment is conditional based on the outcome of the background check. Checking 'I Agree' below and clicking to continue will notify an administrator of your request.
  • Signature Type: Checkbox
  • Age of Consent: 0
  • Default Status: Review
  • Expiration Policy: Duration
  • Expires after: 12 months
  • Age Exemption Limit: 18
  • Exemption Age Direction: Above
  • Active: True

Project Setup:
Scenario A: When creating or editing a project need (shift, position, item or task) the user must set the 'Minimum Age' to 14 AND add both background checks as required credentials (VV Background check AND Background Check - Under 18).

Scenario B: When creating or editing a project need (shift, position, item or task) the user must set the 'Minimum Age' to 0 AND add both background checks as required credentials (VV Background check AND Background Check - Under 18).

Volunteer Experience:
Scenario A:
If I am under the age of 14 - I will not be able to volunteer and a message will be displayed highlighting the age restriction.

If I am between 14 and 18 - Behind the scenes, I will be exempted from the 'Background check' credential until my 18th birthday. I will be presented with the non integrated background check credential: "This volunteer opportunity requires a criminal background check. The date of birth we have on record for you indicates you are under the age of 18 and therefore requires a staff person to run the check on your behalf. Your volunteer assignment is conditional based on the outcome of the background check. Checking 'I Agree' below and clicking to continue will notify an administrator of your request." Assuming permissive credentials, after checking the box and clicking continue I will be signed-up. A staff person will contact me manually to get parent/guardian consent and any other sensitive data (i.e., SSN).

If I am 18 or older - Behind the scenes, I will be exempted from the 'Background Check - Under 18' credential. I will be presented with a statement about the volunteer opportunity requiring a background check along with all of the fields required to run the check (most pre-populated with information we already have on record). After electronically signing the consent and disclosure statements required by law, I will be signed up.

NOTE: When a volunteer is signed up but there background check is pending, they will see a notice that let's the volunteer know the assignment is conditional based on the results of the background check.  If the background check were to be declined, the administrator would also have to remove the volunteer from all current/future assignments that required the background check (which is easy to locate via the credential dashboard or the contacts record in the contact database).  There is also an alternate configuration option where volunteers are prevented from signing up for any assignment that requires a background check until the background check has been run and marked as approved.

Scenario B:
The behavior is identical to Scenario A with one exception. Those under the age of 14 will have the same experience as those 14 to 18.

Credential Admin Implications:
Someone on your staff will be designated to monitor credentials that require adjudication.  Credentials in the 'Review' status require action on the part of your staff. Administrators can opt to receive daily or weekly notifications on credentials via email by visiting 'My Profile' in the volunteer portal. They can also review the credentials dashboard at any time to quickly return a list of all background check credentials that require review.  

"Background Check" credentials listed with a 'Review' status can be clicked to reveal a direct link to your 3rd party background check provider to review the background check results as well as approve or decline the check.  This will update both systems (background check provider and VM) with the results.

As for "Background Check - Under 18" credentials with a 'Review' status - This means that for those individuals, your staff will have to contact them directly to get their parent/guardian's consent and any missing data (i.e., SSN) to run the background check directly with your 3rd party background check provider.  The background check itself will not be automatically/electronically linked in any way to the credential in VolunteerMatters so you will after manually update VolunteerMatters with the status recorded in the background check service.  Once the background check is completed, the staff person must update the credential status in VM to reflect the outcome of the background check (e.g., approved/declined/exempt). Scenario A should prevent anyone under the age of 14 from having the "Background Check - Under 18" credential. However, Scenario B may result in some volunteers who are below 14 having a "Background Check - Under 18" credential in a 'Review' Status. In these instances, an administrator may set the credential to an exempt status with an expiration date equal to the volunteer's 14th birthday. You may optionally reach out to the volunteer to let them know that because of their age, no background check is required.

 

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