The Kids Sports Network now offers youth sports leagues an opportunity
to conduct Criminal Background Checks on their volunteers that are
easier to administer, more comprehensive, faster and probably less
expensive than any you've conducted before.
- What is a background check?
- Why are they important?
- Who do you recommend to conduct background
- How are they conducted?
- How much do background checks cost?
- How accurate and thorough are the checks?
- What must a league do to conduct background checks?
- What if my organization does not yet have the 501c(3) status?
- How can my league participate?
A criminal background check (CBC) is a manual or data base search
of state and/or local government files to determine if the individual
applying to volunteer has had a past criminal conviction. A CBC
must be sufficiently comprehensive to ensure that all convictions
are revealed. For example, a check of records in only one state
will likely not reveal a conviction that occurred in another state
where the individual previously lived. And, a check only for child
molestation convictions will not uncover a burglary or assault conviction.
Parents enroll their children in a league fully expecting that
they will be safe from harm. Conducting a CBC is one of several
actions that youth administrators must take to protect their participants
from abuse. Others include training and certifying
their volunteers, setting guidelines on parent
behavior and direct supervision of the league or program being
To be effective, a CBC must be conducted before the volunteer is
permitted to associate with children and must be done annually on
all volunteers regardless of their position or the number of years
they have been involved in the league.
3. Who do you recommend to conduct
After reviewing several companies, the Kids Sports Network has elected to use LexisNexis to
offer CBC's to youth sports associations. LexisNexis accesses over 150 million conviction records in 46 states and, in most
cases, updates its files monthly. Little League Baseball, Pop Warner Football and several other national
organizations use LexisNexis.
Leagues conduct their checks on line through the LexisNexis web page and receive results in a matter of seconds rather
than days or weeks. There is no special software to purchase or
to attend. The cost of these checks is considerably less than what
most leagues are currently paying for a less comprehensive, more
system through other companies.
To have access to the LexisNexis criminal background
check process through KSN you will be charged a one time set up
fee of $50 that
is payable to KSN via check or credit card. This fee helps defray
the cost of establishing your access to LexisNexis
and the time involved
in providing you guidance on how to get started. Once that fee
is paid, KSN will send you more detailed instructions on how to acquire the promotional code that will set your price for the basic National
Criminal File search at $1.75 and waive any other LexisNexis registration fees. (Please note that this
is a special rate that is available only through KSN. If you deal
directly with LexisNexis the rate will be significantly
When you register your account with LexisNexis, you
will be asked to give them credit card information. Your credit card will be charged
once each month for all CBCs run the previous 30 days. You can
also request to be billed monthly for these fees. More detailed
information is provided when you set up your LexisNexis
Background checks are only as accurate as the criminal records. For example, if the criminal court records in a county contain inaccurate or incomplete information on an individual, then the information that you receive on that individual will also be inaccurate. LexisNexis will ask for addresses and other information on the person you are running a check on to aid in the identification process and to help ensure that any conviction records on that individual are accurate. That said, you will sometimes receive conviction records that will require you to ask additional questions of the individual to verify information and ensure that the record actually pertains to that person. For this reason, LexisNexis now requires a social security number when running a check. You will not be able to run a check without it.
There are several actions a league should take before conducting
background checks. (1) You should be a nonprofit,
501(c)(3) association (if not, read answer No. 8 below). You will be required to send organizational proof (Articles of Incorporation, 501(c)(3) certificate from IRS or state, and if applicable, Articles of Partnership and Professional License to LexisNexis in order to establish your account. (2) You must have written permission from volunteers to
have a background check
You will be asked to verify this permission on screen when you
run a check on an individual. (3) Your league must have policies
in place on how to handle negative responses on individuals. For
example, is a volunteer disqualified from coaching because he/she
had a felony conviction ten years ago? Will you disqualify a volunteer
if he/she had a recent DWI conviction? (4) Leagues should have
a policy that limits access to derogatory information and defines
procedures for destroying the information after a period of time.
For more detailed guidance on this subject, please contact KSN.
You can use two of these three other documents:
Federal or state tax ID certificate or W9 certificate
Declaration page from a commercial insurance policy
You still must have written permission from volunteers to have a background check run on them. Your league must have policies in place on how to handle negative responses on individuals and leagues should have a policy that limits access to derogatory information and defines procedures for destroying the information after a period of time. For more detailed guidance on this subject, please contact KSN (210) 654-4707 email CBC info. Once you register to do background check with KSN, we can supply you a sample policy and sample forms but it will still be your responsibility to create your own forms and policy.
To determine if LexisNexis is right for your league, we encourage you to review their website especially the National Criminal File Sample Report. After you have done that, if you are still interested in establishing an account through KSN, please call (210) 654-4707 or email CBC info.
Please be aware that all background check companies are now required to obtain considerably more information from organizations in order to comply with recently enacted federal laws designed to protect individual rights. Because of the additional paperwork, it could take as long as two weeks to begin running checks depending on how quickly you complete the set-up and registration process. Part of this process now requires a site visit to verify that your organization is adhering to all necessary security measures required by LexisNexis. The most important of those is that you have a securely locked area (office, file cabinet, etc) for any background checks as well as all required consent/authorization paperwork needed prior to running any actual background checks.