Who does this apply to?
All covered positions. A “covered position” is one in which an individual serving or employed receives a living allowance, stipend, education award, or salary, through either the federal share or grantee share of a national service program. For example, common covered positions include, but are not limited to, AmeriCorps members and program staff.
What checks are required for covered positions?
Individuals WITHOUT recurring access to vulnerable populations require two components:
National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) AND either a State(s) Check OR FBI Check as defined below.
- A nationwide name-based check of the NSOPW, which consists of a web-based check of a centralized system that identifies individuals who are registered as sex offenders in States, territories, or with many federally recognized Tribes; and
- Either a name- or fingerprint-based search of the statewide criminal history registry in the candidate’s State of residence and in the State where the individual will serve or work; OR a fingerprint-based FBI check.
Individuals WITH recurring access to vulnerable populations require a heightened check with three components:
National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) AND a State(s) Check AND FBI Check as defined below.
- A nationwide name-based check of the NSOPW, which consists of a web-based check of a centralized system which identifies individuals who are registered as sex offenders in States, territories, or with many federally recognized Tribes; and
- Either a name- or fingerprint-based search of the statewide criminal history registry in the candidate’s State of residence and in the State where the individual will serve or work;
- AND a fingerprint-based FBI check.
What is the definition of vulnerable populations?
Vulnerable populations include:
- Children age 17 or younger;
- Persons age 60 or older; and
- Persons with disabilities
Additionally, the NSCHC three component requirement for people with recurring access to vulnerable populations applies to the person providing service to vulnerable populations, not providing service with vulnerable populations.
What is the definition of recurring access to vulnerable populations?
Recurring access is defined as “the ability on more than one occasion to approach, observe, or communicate with, and individual, through physical proximity or other means, including but not limited to, electronic or telephonic communication.”
National Service Criminal History Check Policy
All recipients must complete CNCS NSCHC training every year. The CNCS designated e-course provides a thorough overview of the requirements and can be found at: http://cncstraining.articulate-online.com/4240214797. Each recipient must identify at minimum one relevant staff person to fulfill this requirement on behalf of the program. The program must retain the certificate of completion and assign staff to retake the course annually prior to the expiration of the certificate. Programs should save certificates of completion from each year as part of grant record. For 2016, recipients should complete this requirement and be certified by December 31, 2016.
NMCCV monitors programs to ensure that members and staff are screened according to AmeriCorps regulations and the Serve America Act. Programs found out of compliance will be guided to take corrective action immediately on discovery to become compliant. Depending on a number of factors, NMCCV may disallow funds, based onCNCS interim guidance, found here.
The Final Rule posted in the Federal Register and the most current Frequently Asked Questions provide clear guidance and should be referenced in determining protocols. http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/criminal-history-check. A listing of required state criminal history information repositories and alternatives is available at http://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/resource/table-of-designated-state-repositories-and-alternates-04-04-16.pdf
Core Process for Members:
All members must have a National Service Criminal History Check (NSCHC) that consists of:
- National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) – check must be performed before candidate is selected for service. Copy must be placed in member’s file with NSOPR website (www.nsopr.gov) confirmation page listing that all states were checked and the date of the check. Verify that your web browser header or footer includes the date;
- Check of CNCS approved criminal registries by name and/or fingerprint performed for the candidate’s state of residence at the time of application and the state where the individual will serve;
- FBI fingerprint-based check, known as Criminal History Record Information (CHRI);
- Registry check must go back as far as possible - not just 7 years.
Accompaniment- Your program and site must have a written policy that ensures members are accompanied by someone cleared for access at all times when in contact with vulnerable populations until the results of either the CHRI or state repository checks are received. During periods of required accompaniment, there must be signed documentation by member and accompanier and included in the member file.
The law prohibits an individual from serving in a national service program in four situations: (1) The individual refuses to consent to the criminal history check; (2) the individual makes a false statement in connection with the criminal history check; (3) theindividual is registered or required to be registered as a sex offender; or (4) the individual has been convicted of murder as defined by federal law.
If a school or other agency is performing the background check you must ensure that it meets the above regulations and that you, Oregon Volunteers and CNCS have access to the records. If either of these requirements are not met you must request an Alternate Search Procedure (ASP) through Oregon Volunteers.
Core Process for Staff:
- All staff funded in part or whole by your AmeriCorps grant, whether with CNCS share or grantee share, must have criminal history checks that meet all the above requirements for members.
- You must have written procedures for initiating and maintaining the criminal background check process and be able to prove that you are implementing those procedures.
If you want to request an Alternate Search Procedure, your request must start with the Commission if you are funded through NMCCV.
FBI checks are required for new covered individuals (members and staff) that began service after April 21, 2011.
Policies and procedures:
Programs must create written policies and procedures that cover the steps described above and include:
- Process used to verify applicant identity;
- Process used to verify the applicant’s state of residence at the time of application. The applicant should specify what they consider the application point and ask the member tospecify their state of residence on the program’s NSCHC authorization form;
- Procedure and timeline for conducting the NSOPR check;
- Procedure and timeline for conducting the state of residence and state of service criminal history checks;
- Procedure and timeline for conducting the FBI check;
- How applicant provides written authorization for NSCHC;
- Where in the application process an applicant learns that selection is contingent on passing NSOPR and service year completion is contingent upon passing the state and federal background check at the level designated by the program;
- Language that states that an applicant has the opportunity to review the results of the background check findings;
- Procedures that ensure that all NSCHC report information is maintained in a confidential and safe manner including all requirements stated in 45 CFR §§ 2540.200-.207;
- Policy regarding how background check results are reviewed and the decision-making process to determine if members with a criminal history are excluded from service or not;
- How the program documents that identity was verified and that the required checks were performed;
- Where the results of the checks are maintained;
- How and where you document that the selection of the candidate was based on the results of the NSCHC;
- Policy for accompaniment by a cleared individual while awaiting the results of either the CHRI or state repository checks for members working with vulnerable populations including how accompaniment is documented.
What results would prohibit an individual from service or employment?
- Anyone listed, or required to be listed, on a sex offender registry is ineligible to serve.
- Anyone convicted of murder is ineligible to serve.
- Anyone refusing to undergo required checks is ineligible to serve.
- Anyone who makes a false statement regarding their criminal record is ineligible to serve.
- Programs may develop additional criteria.