The Florida Department of Children and Families is pushing a proposal to require summer camps and child care providers to register in an online database. They could only access the database after completing a background check and then obtaining a special code to access the database.
The database would be public and allow parents to scan it for a summer camp they are considering sending their children to.
Currently, many providers across the state already comply with a state law that requires anyone that works for or volunteers at a summer camp to have a background check. The problem is that there is no check to make sure the providers are actually following the law.
This push for change follows an investigation by local media revealing that child molesters and other felons had successfully owned or worked at summer camps.
“Summer camps, since 2010, have been required to do background screening anyway. That’s not going to change, we just need to get them doing it,” said Deborah Russo with the DCF.
Though nothing is required by law yet, more than 1,000 providers have already completed their background checks to access the database.
Bentley Child Development Center in Riviera Beach is among those that have already entered their information on the website. Employee LaJuanda Williams has worked for the center for more than 25 years. She says she gets a background check every year, along with every employee and volunteer at the center. “If you’re going to be exposing these children, you really want to have [employees] cleared,” said Williams.
As the summer camp season nears, summer camp background checks will once again become a priority on the agenda of parents and summer camp employers across the county. Get in touch for more information on employee screening in your community.
Georgia legislators are taking the next step to further to keep children safe, with the introduction of finger-printing based background checks in the child care industry.
“Parents come to us regularly. One of the first questions they ask is what measures are taken with your new employees, do they have background checks?” said the Director of Best Academy, Nancy Isaacson. Right now state and local background checks are required for child care workers but employers might not get the full criminal picture. This introduction intends to change that.
“A background check will examine criminal convictions for misdemeanors and felonies locally and within the state,” said WSAV Crime Expert, Gerry Long. “This would prevent individuals from moving from state to state that have convictions not only for sexual offenses but as well as violent offenses that could put their access to children and to your children in jeopardy,” said Long.
According to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, the child care agency will be responsible for paying for the fingerprint-based background checks. The Director of Best Academy said she doesn’t mind paying for fingerprinting.
“We want to have the double protection and want to make sure the staff is the best and of the utmost,” said Isaacson, providing everyone a better peace of mind.
“Children are their most prized possession. They [parents] want to make sure that when they cannot be with their children that they are in the most protective and safe environment and the people that are working with them are the most trustworthy and responsible,” said Isaacson.
Under the law, a child care worker hired next year will have to get a fingerprint background check. Those who are already working will have to be fingerprinted no later than January 2017
The Federal Trade Commission sent letters to ten data broker companies recently, warning that their practices could violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) after a test-shopping operation by the FTC indicated the companies were willing to sell consumer information without abiding by FCRA requirements.
The test-shopping operation was part of a worldwide privacy protection effort. FTC staff members posed as individuals or representatives of companies seeking information about consumers to make decisions related to their creditworthiness, eligibility for insurance or suitability for employment.
Data broker companies that collect, distribute or sell this information are considered consumer reporting agencies under the FCRA, meaning they must reasonably verify the identities of their customers and make sure that these customers have a legitimate purpose for receiving the information. This requirement ensures that the privacy of sensitive consumer report information is protected. Of the 45 companies contacted by FTC staff in the test-shopper operation, ten appear to violate the FCRA by offering to provide the information without complying with the law’s requirements.
The FTC issued the letters this week in conjunction with an international privacy practice transparency sweep conducted by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN). The network connects privacy enforcement authorities to promote and support cooperation in cross-border enforcement of laws protecting privacy. Several GPEN members from countries around the world are taking steps this week to ensure that companies meet their obligations related to the privacy of consumers’ personal information.
The ten companies receiving the warning letters from the FTC include:
- Two companies that appeared to offer “pre-screened” lists of consumers for use in making firm offers of credit: ConsumerBase and ResponseMakers;
- Two companies that appeared to offer consumer information for use in making insurance decisions: Brokers Data and US Data Corporation; and
- Six companies that appeared to offer consumer information for employment purposes: Crimcheck.com, 4Nannies, U.S. Information Search, People Search Now, Case Breakers, and USA People Search.
The letters are not an official notice by the Commission that any of the named companies is subject to the requirements of the FCRA, nor do the letters lay out any formal complaints against the companies. Instead, they serve to remind the companies to evaluate their practices to determine whether they are consumer reporting agencies, and if so, how to comply with that law.
It’s a stark reminder to all those interested in performing background checks of any sort to ensure they work with a verified and reliable screening company, in order to stay within the law. Contact us for more information on how Mind Your Business, Inc. can help.
In the NAPBS ‘History of the Screening Industry’ learning resource, one of the most valuable sections highlights the five most compelling reasons, according to NAPBS, for why organizations should perform background checks on their employees, contractors and volunteers.
It provides real insight that we wanted to share with the MYB audience. Here are their key points, in summary:
The need to hire the most qualified candidate, and the inherent risk in hiring the wrong candidate, has never been greater. Workplace crime, unethical business practices, and misleading résumés are on the rise. The costs of fraud, embezzlement, theft and violence are a multi-billion dollar drain on our economy, bleeding organizations both large and small. Organizations owe it to themselves and to everyone with whom they come into contact to know everything they can about their employees and volunteers, and the most effective method to accomplish this is by conducting thorough background checks.
Background checks are being used today to not only screen prospective employees and volunteers, but also to screen prospective business partners, political candidates, board members, trial witnesses, community leaders, sporting coaches and jurors. Background checks are also an integral part of criminal, civil, or financial investigations.
Background checking has exploded in the workplace over the last 10 years. Some of the most compelling reasons organizations now conduct background checks are:
- Making background checking a part of an organization’s culture can not only enhance its effectiveness (e.g., through greater productivity and retention), but also its reputation.
- Background checking can supplant an organization’s loss prevention efforts by helping provide a safer environment for employees, volunteers, and others.
- The most common reason among employers for not conducting background checks is cost. However, the cost of background checks represents a fraction of the cost of: terminating an individual; re-recruiting, re-hiring, and re-training his or her replacement; and defending a lawsuit brought by a victim of a dishonest or violent individual’s actions (which can range in the multi-millions of dollars). Additionally, background checks may uncover a history of fraud or theft, and many organizations—especially retail companies—experience very high levels of employee theft.
- A background check may uncover deception. It can affirm an individual’s professional or personal integrity by confirming that an individual told the truth on his/her résumé or application regarding criminal, employment and education history.
- In some organizations and industries some form of background checking is often required—whether because it is mandated by law, or because an insurance company demands it.
Historically an often overlooked subject of background screening has been the volunteer. Companies and organizations are often so happy to have volunteers that they assume a volunteer’s spirit of public service and dedication to community denote someone who couldn’t possible have a blemish in their background. However, newspaper headlines in recent years have made it clear that persons with unsupervised access to children, the elderly and other vulnerable populations have blemishes, too—and sometimes they’re serious enough to put the safety of these special populations at great risk.
A simple background check could be the difference between an organization’s success or its succumbing to the notorious headlines or tremendous losses that can result if a diligent effort is not made to assure a safe environment.
Find out how you can get started with implementing a background check program at your organization.
A comprehensive immigration bill introduced in the Senate – S. 744 – would mandate all U.S. employers to use E-Verify as part of their hiring process.
According to a summary of the bill, S. 744 would phase in the requirement for the mandatory use of E-Verify by employers over a period of five years after enactment:
- Employers with more than 5,000 employees will be phased in within 2 years.
- Employers with more than 500 employees will be phased in within 3 years.
- All employers, including agricultural employers, will be phased in within 4 years.
S. 744 also would enhance E-Verify through changes such as “photo matching” that requires non-citizens to show their “biometric work authorization card” or their “biometric green card” with a photograph to be stored in the E-Verify system.
In addition, S. 744 would provide additional security by allowing employees to “lock” their Social Security number (SSN) in the E-Verify system so they cannot be used by another individual, investigate whether SSNs are being improperly used multiple times, and allow employees to check their E-Verify history.
However, some critics suggest that it won’t work as planned. The Daily Caller claims that the bill would instantly gut the popular E-Verify system that is widely used to exclude illegal immigrants from jobs, and then create an enforcement gap for several years before the arrival of a replacement system.
“There’s no doubt that the bill eliminates E-Verify immediately upon signing,” said Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas, told The Daily Caller. “If there’s no statutory authority for E-Verify, there’s no E-Verify,” said Kobach, a lawyer trained at Harvard, Oxford and Yale universities, and a prominent advocate for reduced immigration.
S. 744 was introduced by the by the Senate’s so called “gang of eight” made up of Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Have you ever checked your credit rating? Almost a quarter of Americans haven’t according to a study published by FindLaw.com.
Key stats reported in the study include:
- Twenty-two percent of Americans have never checked their credit report to verify the accuracy of the information, even though by law, credit reporting agencies are required to provide free copies upon request.
- Women are more likely than men to check their credit reports.
- Twenty-five percent of men have never checked their credit reports, compared with only 18 percent of women.
- People with more income are somewhat more likely to check their reports. However, a significant percentage of people even at the highest income levels say they have never checked their credit reports, including 14 percent of people with household incomes of $75,000 a year or more.
A credit report is an overview of how much debt a person currently has, as well as whether he or she has a history of making debt payments on time. It also contains personal information such as recent home addresses, employers, and bankruptcies and court judgments.
“The accuracy of your credit report can have a major impact on your finances, and even your chances of obtaining a job,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “Inaccuracies in information such as late payments or defaults could play a major role in whether you can obtain a home mortgage, credit card, car loan and other types of debt, and how favorable your terms will be, such as interest rates. Credit reports are increasingly used in background checks, and could determine whether you are offered a job or rental housing.”
Get in touch with MYB to learn more about how credit checks play a role in gaining employment, or how they can ensure an employer is able to maintain a safe and productive workforce.
Great news! We recently provided the international background checks for the team working on the AUSAID project. We’re delighted to have been a part of it; you can read the full press release and learn more about the initiative below:
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – RTI International has been awarded the first phase of an ambitious 15-year project funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to strengthen public policy research and research institutions in Indonesia.
Called the “Knowledge Sector Initiative,” the far-reaching effort represents a major AusAID investment in support of the Government of Indonesia’s efforts to strengthen its research institutions and use of research in public policy development.
During the first five-year phase of the project, RTI experts will work with AusAID to develop the capacity of Indonesian research organizations in the areas of health, education, and poverty reduction, with additional areas possible over time.
“We are proud to be selected by AusAID to implement the first phase of this very important program,” said Aaron Williams, executive vice president of RTI’s International Development Group. “Our long-standing Indonesian experience and established partnerships, combined with our subject matter expertise and multidisciplinary approach, make us well equipped to support this important effort.”
In addition to AusAID and RTI, project partners include the Australian National University, the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne and the Overseas Development Institute, UK.
As its name suggests, the “Knowledge Sector Initiative” is intended not only to enhance the capacity of Indonesia’s research institutions, but also to strengthen the connection between Indonesian research organizations and the public policy making components of government. As such, communication and outreach between and among policy makers and research organizations are a vital element of the project’s first phase.
The project will work closely with and provide research funding to a number of Indonesian research organizations, which include universities, independent think tanks and civil society groups. These efforts will help improve and standardize technical research methods, strengthen organization leadership and management, and extend advocacy and networking capabilities.
The project will encourage peer to peer networking and provide grants to encourage Indonesian researchers to establish national and international partnerships.
Project partners will work closely with selected Indonesian policy makers and associated agencies to increase their use of research-based evidence in the policymaking process. To meet the needs of each individual agency, project partners will provide tailored activities ranging from technical assistance and workshops to short courses and partnerships with existing Australian government agencies and programs.
In an effort to bring quality research to the attention of policy makers, the project will help establish and promote networks of civil society organizations that use quality evidence in their advocacy work. The project will also address the legal and regulatory environments in Indonesia which affect the production and use of research.
Republican lawmaker Danny Short says candidate for political office in Delaware should undergo criminal background checks.
The proposal by the House Minority Leader comes as legislators consider a bill expanding criminal background checks for gun purchases to include most private sales.
Short says his bill has been under consideration for several weeks and that the timing of its announcement Friday – just one day after the House passed the gun background check bill – is just coincidence.
Under Short’s proposal, any candidate running for state, county or municipal office on the general election ballot would have to submit to a criminal background check. Short notes that the state already requires such checks for people working in other positions of trust, such as doctors, nurses, teachers and therapists.
“”So we’re dealing with the state elected officials; we’re dealing with county elected officials; we’re dealing with those municipal elections that occur in those time frames as well” says Short. “I think you also set the example but imposing that same rule on yourself. I mean, we’re requiring others to do it, so why wouldn’t we think that it would be fair for us to do it as well?”
The Obama administration announced plans last Friday for more than $20 million in grants aimed at strengthening the national gun background check system.
The move is part of the President’s 23 proposals to bolster the country’s gun control laws, and comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to bring a bill to the floor that would expand gun background checks, according to The Hill.
“As part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence, the administration is committed to enhancing and strengthening the national criminal record system in support of stronger firearm background checks,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
“The Department of Justice intends to take immediate and effective action to work with states to fill gaps in information currently available to the NICS system,” he said.
The grants will attempt to improve the access of states and their ability to report key mental health information into the database, such as involuntary commitments to mental health facilities. It will also be used to try and increase the reporting of domestic violence records and outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants from state officials, according to DOJ.
States will be encouraged to use the money to strengthen their electronic fingerprinting submission systems linked to federal systems as well, which include arrest histories.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, testifying before the House last week, told lawmakers that the number of requested background checks through NICS has increased from about 54,000 a day, to a current level of about 81,000 each day. Mueller said he has had to shift about 200 FBI employees to the NICS division to handle the increase in background check requests.
Colorado joined New York in becoming one of the first states to expand gun background checks since the recent spate of mass-shooting tragedies. In addition, they have limited the size of ammunition magazines.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat in a Western state where gun-control issues are politically sensitive, signed the law exactly eight months after a gunman shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring about 70.
In the meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has stepped back from some of its more controversial gun control proposals.
The signing of the Colorado bill comes just a day after Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban.
Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed in the movie theater, told Hickenlooper: “You’ve given us a real gift today. Thank you so much; you’re leading the entire country.”
“I think it will make it more difficult for people to get guns who shouldn’t have them, and that’s really the goal,” Democratic Rep. Beth McCann added about the expanded background screening program.
Other Democratic gun control proposals still pending in the state Legislature include a ban on gun ownership by people accused of domestic-violence crimes and a bill to eliminate online-only safety training for people seeking concealed-weapons permits.
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