Volunteer Screening: The Use & Misuse of Criminal Databases

volunteer screeningThe background screening industry has been negligent in marketing criminal databases as a stand-alone volunteer screening program.  There I said it. I was leaning toward unethical but we are talking about the safety and security of children.  Placing profit above safety and security of children is negligence.

Let me say there is no such thing as an instant criminal background check.  And there is no such thing as a quality $9 or $10 background check.  I don’t care what the background screening firm told you.

So what are the problems with criminal databases:

  • They Are Not Complete.  There does not exist a single criminal database, including the FBI’s NCIC, that is complete.
  • Few Counties Supply Data.  The majority of states provide only Department of Corrections and Sex Offender Records.  Some states might provide a few counties.  Only a handful of states provide Administrative Office of the Courts data which would be all the counties.
  • State Repositories Are Not Complete.  Statewide criminal databases vary widely from state to state and should be considered a tool in a screening program.
  • They Are Not FCRA Compliant.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the use of up-to-date information and criminal databases are not considered up-to-date because the information is generally only updated once a month or less.
  • Rarely Contain Final Dispositions.  The use of criminal records demands final dispositions to be legally compliant with EEOC, FCRA and many state laws.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Criminal databases play a critical role in the background screening program if they are part of a screening package that includes county criminal searches.

Criminal databases and county criminal searches are like a marriage.  They work well together and lift each other up.  Standing alone they are not as strong as they are when bonded together.

Does your volunteer screening program rely on an instant database search?  If so, it is time your screening program matured and got married to Mr. County Criminal.

Contact us today and we can take your screening program to the next level.