Re: Background checks
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Fri, 22 Oct 1993 10:23:34 CDT
Rick Clements <rickcl@POGO.WV.TEK.COM> writes:
>With the discussion on youth protection the question comes up, what
>should be done for background checks? I raised this issue with our
>committee and no one knew exactly what this should entail. Do you call
>the people on their application and ask, "is s/he a good person? Thank
>you.". This should be done by the chartering organization, but if they
>don't, who should pick up the ball.
First, the COMMITTEE DOES NOT DO THE BACKGROUND CHECKS. They are done
by the Chartered Organizational Representative BEFORE he or she signs
the volunteer application and forwards it along with the money to the
local Council office.
Next, the format for the background check is highly dependent upon
whom the person is and what role he or she will have in the unit.
Those naturally, dealing directly with youth members, would require
more checking than those working with the unit's committee.
Then, the way it is done is up to the COR. Many will simply pick up
the phone, call the person's work and get a reference from his or her
boss; then call one or two of the references listed and ask the same
questions that the person has completed on the application, following
it up by "would you feel confortable having this person working with
your children or being alone with your children?" and "would you feel
confortable with this person taking your children on outdoor
Others will get a police report, and call up ALL of the references and
talk with them to get a more detailed background into the person and
then INTERVIEW the prospective new Scouter.
>Mike, in a message you wrote a while ago, you said you though the
>chartering organization was a better choice then council to do the job
>of checking backgrounds. Why?
The current BSA policy on this is that the Chartered Organization
Representative, trained by the local Council, should be the one to do
the background checks IF HE OR SHE DEEMS NECCESSARY TO DO SO. Many of
our volunteers come from that community, and therefore a call to one
of the references on the application should suffice as to the
character of the person. Other volunteers, however, come from outside
the community, and that is why the chartered organization rep, as the
"hiring approval" (and usually the person with more access to
resources to do this for him or her) should be that person to do
whatever background check/verification is necessary.
If the COR does NOT do a background check for whatever reason, the
chartered partner organization is liable for anything that occurs
because of this omission. The COR's signature on the application
certifies that "the person meets with our chartered organization's
approval and I recommend the application be approved".
Take your own conclusions from that!
This whole idea of the Chartered Organizational Representative doing
the "hiring" is foriegn for many of us. In our past, the Scoutmaster,
Cubmaster, or Advisor, working with the unit's Committee chair,
"hired" (approved) new Scouting leaders with that unit. But the
problem was that there was no accountability between the unit and the
body or group that chartered it (the chartered organization). The
Scouting Coordinator/Instituational Representative (now called the
Chartered Organization Representative) was back then a figurehead,
only around for annual elections of District and local Council
officers and for rechartering of the unit.
The current policy is meant to make all parties aware of WHOM is doing
WHAT role in the unit, which the Chartered Partner/Organization
"owns" and operates. In this policy, the Chartered Organization
Representative "hires" the new volunteer based on the application and
the recommendation from the unit Committee chair and unit leader. It
is HIS OR HER signature on the leader application that the local
Council pays most attention to now, not that of the unit leader.
The Unit Committee's role now has been strengthed to supporting the
unit leader. The unit leader SHOULD be "out of the recruiting
picture" as far as adult leadership leadership is concerned. That is
now the responsibity of the Unit (Pack, Troop, Team, Post/Ship)
(okay, that's the National policy. Mike Walton feels that the reason
why this was changed this way is to protect the local Council from
feeling much heat if the COR fails to do an adequate background check
and "hires" the wrong person. While the National office will run ALL
applications against it's "undesirables" listing, if a person falls
through the strainer and does some damage, it's the chartered partner
organization that will stand the most heat. "*You* approved him!" the
words will come out. "This becomes your organizations' problem...the
BSA will support you but you approved him". This is the reason why we
have less chartered organizations than we have had in previous years,
why local Councils are almost obsessive about getting that COR
signature on EVERY application sent in, and why CORs are seeking ON
THEIR OWN the training and advice from the local Council in this
>I would think someone with experence
>(someone at council who is trained and does this work on a regular
>basis) could do a better job than a volunteer.
NOBODY at the local Council does background work on a daily basis.
The applications are electronically (or batched and mailed to Regional
which does the electronically) screened against the "undesirable"
listing at the four Regional offices.
[NOTE: Your application is NOT sent to the National offices. The
National Office copy of the applications goes to the Regional offices,
where they are inputed into the National registration system and kept
for safe-keeping (which is why you should NOT have to complete an new
application every year at rechartering time). The National office and
the four Regional offices keep the "undesirables" listing, NOT local
Councils. The Council Scout Executive (only) can add or delete names
from that listing by letter to the Regional Director].
Professionals only do backgrounds occassionally if a District or Council
person is questionable. But since the BSA have been "pushing" the
number of Council-level volunteers down to the unit level (to allow
the units to succeed better) (**to keep the liability to the Council
low, in my opinion**), there's not much need for the DE or anyone else
at the Council office to do this, since the person WILL be registered
in a unit and that unit's COR does the checking.
The Council WILL call other Councils to get a "referral" on volunteers
transferring into their Council from elsewhere, but that's basically a
courtsey call between DEs (to see what this person has done, and who
he or she knows that could help the incoming DE to be more
Hope that helps out!
Mike L. Walton
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
( (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
( 3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
( KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM (America Online) / (available Scouting speaker) )
( "I don't speak for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but man, do I speak!!!!" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City