Background checks have become an integral part of many faith-based communities’ safety programs. More and more states now require organizations including non-profits to run background checks for anyone working with vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations are generally defined based on certain factors like age, particular health conditions, diseases, or disabilities. Churches and other volunteer organizations must maintain the trust of their members, donors and communities. Maintaining this trust often includes a thorough screening process for people working in sensitive roles.

This article will explain Checkr's Basic, Standard, and Pro Background Check Packages, and help you determine which will best serve your needs. 

How does a community decide which background checks are comprehensive enough to protect their members and volunteers?

We recommend a few best practice guidelines to follow when deciding which background checks to run as part of your trust and safety program:

  1. Make sure that background checks include comprehensive screenings suitable for the role.
  2. Re-run background checks on a regular cadence to ensure you have the most updated information on your volunteers (annual re-runs are suggested as a guideline for those working with vulnerable populations).
  3. Have adjudication criteria in place to review results and make decisions in a consistent and compliant manner.

Picking a background check screening package and making sure it’s appropriate for your open position is a key step in finding the right candidates and volunteers to support your organization. Checkr offers a number of screenings that we have grouped into Packages designed to meet the diverse resourcing needs of our faith-based partners. We’ll help you evaluate these Packages and understand how they can contribute to a successful safety program for your community.

Checkr’s Basic Package

Checkr’s Basic Package may be appropriate for volunteers that do not interact with sensitive populations.

The "Basic" report Package offered by Checkr includes the most common searches:

These searches are run as a group. Checkr will then surface any information that is legally reportable in each state.

For more information on this Package, see Which checks are included in my background check package? in Checkr’s Help Center.

Checkr’s Standard and Pro Packages

Either the Standard or Pro Package is strongly encouraged for volunteers that do interact with vulnerable populations. When an individual is working with these populations, the level of screening should be equal to or above the level of risk of a safety incident.

Checkr’s Standard Package Screenings

The Standard Background Check Package includes all of the screenings in the Basic Package, as well as a Country Criminal Records Check of your volunteer’s or candidate’s current county of residence.

What is a County Criminal Records Check?

A Country Criminal Records Check is a search of publicly available county criminal records including felony, misdemeanor, and pending criminal records. Checkr initiates this search based on information revealed from our National Criminal Database Check or SSN Trace. When a "hit" is identified in the National Criminal Database Check, Checkr automatically upgrades the report to use county level verification. This means that Checkr searches any counties identified by the National Criminal Database Check as having a possible record to obtain.

For many criminal records, the county courthouse is the source of truth. County records, which make up the majority of criminal offenses, are available in all counties in all 50 states, and are located in county courthouses across the 3,200 counties in the US. We highly recommend including a county-level search, for a more clear and complete picture of the individual you are screening.

Checkr’s Pro Package screenings

The Pro Background Check Package from Checkr includes all of the screenings in the Standard Package.

The Pro Package also includes a County Criminal Check that searches every county in which your candidate or volunteer has had a registered address for the past 7 years. This provides a more thorough screening for more sensitive roles. The Basic Package does not automatically initiate a County Criminal Check for these previous addresses, unless one of the other Checks in the Basic Package indicates that there might be a record to be found in these counties. By including this expanded county criminal search in the background check packages for your staff and volunteers, you are driving a higher level of assurance that the individuals you are onboarding meet your community’s trust and safety standards.

Choosing a background check package that is tailored to the level of risk associated with a role should be a best practice when building your trust and safety programs.

How do I learn more about background checks and choosing the right package for my community?

If you have any questions about our background checks and how Checkr can help you better serve your community, please reach out to us using our contact form and we’ll be happy to help!