December 18, 2014

Why Your Church Needs to Conduct Background Checks

If you’ve ever volunteered at a church or school, chances are you’ve been asked to undergo a background check or get fingerprinted. Sometimes we wonder why. I recently sat down with Steve Durie, founder of  SecureSearch and new CTT site sponsor, to find out the ins and outs of church background checks to give you the low-down on why it’s so important:

Why do churches need to run background checks on staff and volunteers?

The better question is why do they feel they don’t need to run background checks. With 1 in 31 adults in the U.S. in the prison system (incarcerated, probation or parole), criminal records are important to search before allowing someone into your ministry to mentor children. Churches are liable for “negligent hiring” or “negligent retention” of paid or unpaid employees (volunteers). Typically 5% of all of our background checks on church staff and volunteers have criminal records that are relevant and should not be allowed to work in that capacity within the church.

How do you consult and make recommendations for a church when it comes to an effective screening policy?

SecureSearch approaches each church holistically. We need to find a balance between their Child Protection Policies, Budget, and Risk Tolerance. Every church is slightly different from another. Our programs are specifically designed for each church because one approach or package will never suffice. Our staff are all college educated professionals with a heart for service. We take our time to know you and are always available to assist you with this important process.

When was SecureSearch founded and what was your plan for taking integrated background search tools to churches and nonprofits?

SecureSearch was founded in early 2006 by Steve and Kelly Durie. We believe our ministry is bringing tools and information to faith-based clients to help protect children, youth and vulnerable adults from harm. Our mission has always been to deliver the highest quality data and services to assist in the screening process of staff and volunteers. Our decision to integrate with Church Management Software was a natural choice as we serve the same clientele and they are managing information on “people” that attend or get involved. It has been a wonderful “marriage” as their software now has an “order background check” button that links data to SecureSearch and the results can flow directly back into the CMS.

Describe what an integrated background search is. Does SecureSearch work with church management software? How does this make the process streamlined for churches?

Our decision to integrate with church management software (ChMS) was a natural choice as we serve the same clientele and they are managing information on “people” that attend or get involved. It has been a wonderful “marriage” as their software now has an “order background check” button that links data to SecureSearch and the results can flow directly back into the ChMS. Integration is simply allowing our two technologies to communicate information back and forth in a secure environment. Since most of the data that is required to run a thorough background check already exists in the ChMS database it allows for a quicker and simpler way to order your background checks. No need for double data entry. Stay in your church management software and see the results quickly and easily. (Currently, SecureSearch integrates with a number of ChMS companies including Elexio, Shelby, IconCMO, ACS Technologies, and Fellowship One.

 

 

 

 

 

What does the process look like when a church needs to run a background check? Overall, how does this make churches safer?

Churches are targets for pedophiles as they are usually easy to get into and easy to get involved in the ministry. Churches need a through Child Protection Policy with a detailed Background Check Policy and continued training on Child Abuse Awareness in order to keep their campuses safe and secure. Screening, Training, Awareness and Diligence are the responsibility of every church. SecureSearch and Safeguard From Abuse are two allies that every church should have on their team.

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, church technology PR consultant (http://lhpr.net) and founder of the blog ChurchTechToday (http://ChurchTechToday.com), Technology for Today’s Church.

About the author  ⁄ Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, consultant and blogger who loves the Lord and desires to encourage churches to better use technology to improve every aspect of ministry. Her blog, ChurchTechToday, was born out of a need to find a place to discuss how technology can impact the Church in positive ways.

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