Ministries need to be aware that even the best applicant on paper might not seem so squeaky clean after a background check. It’s important that church leaders have a standardized policy when it comes to identifying “red flags” that will disqualify someone from employment or volunteer positions. Even red flags such as behavior or character traits need to be thoughtfully weighed as they could expose the church to increased risk.
A Virginia church is at the center of every congregation’s worst nightmare: One of its former volunteers is accused of sexually abusing several children he met through the church.
The worst part is that these newest charges come six years after similar allegations plagued the man and the church.
Once a clean record, not always a clean a record.
Ministries have a bold task. You want — and need — to be good stewards of your communities and congregations. That can often lead to conflicting methodologies when it comes to balancing budgets.
While you want to devote the majority of your money to your missions, outreach and education programs, you also understand the importance of recruiting quality volunteers and employees, and prioritizing hiring procedures.
This, of course, has a dollar value, too.
Background screening employees and volunteers is the most effective tool for keeping congregations safe. Yet, most ministries make major mistakes when implementing background check procedures.
“[I]t wasn’t what occurred during the hiring process that put the children and church at risk; it was what didn’t occur after.”
We frequently ask ourselves questions such as, “What’s an acceptable way to show affection to youth in my care?” or “How should I react if a child runs up for a hug?”
These are important questions, because boundaries promote a lifetime of healthy relationships.
Legislative changes to child abuse reporting statutes can significantly impact daily operations of these organizations. Leadership must stay abreast of statutory changes in abuse reporting requirements.
When it comes to risk management, a few extra steps — literally — can prevent a tragedy.
Criminal background checks can deter those with bad intent from having quick and easy access to children, reveal crimes in a candidate’s past that would make him or her unsuitable, and demonstrate that the church is exercising due diligence.