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Criminal background screening on volunteers
to begin April 1, 2003

Since Scouting's inception, having the highest quality of volunteers as role models and mentors for youth has been of utmost importance. Our highest priority continues to be the safety of our youth members and participants.

The Occoneechee Council and Boy Scouts of America continue to seek and impendent improvements to our youth protection guidelines and procedures. We are happy to report that new information technologies are now available to conduct accurate, reliable criminal history record checks on volunteer applicants. These checks are based on the applicant's Social Security Number. This important development offers a practical way to limit the possibility of individuals with a history of criminal acts against children being granted positions with the BSA. When used in conjunction with other youth protection strategies, criminal history record checks are valuable tools that discourage ineligible volunteers from seeking positions with the BSA and help to identify and screen out those who do apply. This process will supplement the current application process, which includes reference cheeks and the ineligible volunteer screening.

The new Criminal Background Screening will be conducted on all new adult volunteers in the traditional Scouting program. If an adult application is completed, the council will perform the background check. The new adult leader volunteer application now clearly advises applicants that a criminal background screening will be conducted and requires written consent to conduct the background check and permission to use the resulting information. All adult applications now requires a Social Security Number.

The new adult application includes the following statement:

By submitting to this application, you are authorizing a criminal background check of yourself. This check will be made from public record sources. You will have an opportunity to review and challenge any adverse information disclosed by the check.

What does this mean to our current Volunteers? The primary impact will be a feeling of greater security and the knowledge that anyone with a history of criminal conduct with a child will more likely not be a volunteer in your unit. It also means a new adult application cannot be processed without a Social Security Number and consent to conduct the background check.

We believe the critical importance of protecting our youth from abuse or violence will be recognized by all and that parents and leaders will take comfort and pride in the steps we are taking.

This article was printed in the December 2002-January 2003 edition of the Occoneechee Council's Scout Sign newspaper (page 7).

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