Shrinking budgets and other organizational pressures mean many schools increasingly rely on their volunteers to perform essential functions inside and outside the classroom, yet inconsistent vetting of these volunteers may expose schools to unintended risk – as recent headlines attest. While laws and policies regarding criminal background checks for school volunteers are different for every state and school district, screening is fast becoming a prerequisite to volunteering at schools throughout the country.
Abuse issues and safety remain a chief concern for youth service organizations. While youth service organizations have stepped up training and staff selection efforts in recent years, there is still much work to be done. Abuse prevention and protection must be a strategic initiative.