Volunteer Background Check

Girl Scouts of Colorado values and respects the contributions of each of our volunteers. We understand you may have questions about our updated background screening process, especially if you have volunteered with us for any length of time previously.
As part of our council’s ongoing efforts to provide a safe and rewarding experience for girls and volunteers, beginning April 1, 2017, Girl Scouts of Colorado will require new volunteers to pass an enhanced background check screening and require existing volunteers to meet the same criteria every three years.  We hope these FAQs will be helpful in answering any questions you may have regarding this process and the service we use.
Q: Why do the Girl Scouts require a background check for their volunteers?
A: For the safety of our girls, volunteers and staff, the Girl Scouts has a volunteer background check process operated through Verified Volunteers. Girl Scouts of Colorado is committed to creating a safe and healthy environment for all girls and while we are eager to recruit and retain volunteers, we want to ensure we do it in a responsible and thorough manner that is consistent with industry recommendations.
Q: How much will the enhanced background check cost?
A: The cost of this more extensive background check process will vary based on the costs passed along from the number of counties and states where the potential volunteer has lived for the past seven years and based on the number of aliases. The minimum cost will be $53 and Girl Scouts of Colorado will require the volunteer to pay at least $24 of that. There will be an option for volunteers to pay the remainder of the fee for their background check if they choose.
Q: What does the enhanced background check include?
A: The enhanced background check includes:
  • Social Security Trace
  • Government Watch List
  • 50 State DOJ Sex Offender Registry
  • Criminal History:
    • Nationwide Database with primary source validation
    • Current county/state of residence search
  • Unlimited county/state searches from last 7 years address history (based on SSN)
  • Unlimited alias/maiden name searches on all of the above
  • Colorado Abuse Registry search
Q: What volunteer positions require a background check? 
A: All volunteer positions EXCEPT an Adult Member who will spend less than 3 sessions with girls, does not handle group funds and will not attend any overnight activities. If the troop is meeting in a private home all adults over the age of 18 are required to submit and pass a CBC. 
Q: What are a few key examples of a volunteer position that will require a background check?
Troop Positions: Troop Leader, Troop Fall Sale Manager, Troop Cookie Manager, Troop Support Volunteer
Service Unit/Area Positions: Service Unit Manager, Service Unit Fall Sale Manager, Service Unit Cookie Manager.
Outdoor Program Positions: Outdoor Program Volunteer, Outdoor Program Director, Resident Camp Volunteer.
Committee Positions: Gold Award Committee Member, Statewide Recognitions Committee Member.
Event/Series Positions: Event/Series Program Coordinator, Event/Series Program Volunteer 
Individual Girl Positions: Highest Awards Mentor
Q: How can I tell if I’ll need a background check to volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Colorado?
A: We recommend that all caregivers become a registered volunteer with Girl Scouts of Colorado – who knows when you’ll want to drive girls for a Girl Scout activity, attend an overnight experience or take on a volunteer position throughout the Girl Scout year. A good rule of thumb is if you’re spending 3 or more sessions with girls, handling group funds, driving Girl Scouts other than your own girl or attending an overnight activity you will need to become an approved volunteer. For overnight activities, a background check is mandatory for all adult members involved unless all attending girl members have at least one legal guardian present.
Q: Do I need to be a member of the Girl Scouts in order to complete a background check?
A: Yes. Any level of volunteer participation that requires a background check will automatically require an active membership with Girl Scouts. Every participating girl and volunteer needs an active membership with Girl Scouts of the USA. Our membership year starts on October 1st and ends September 30th. The annual fee is $25 and financial assistance is available to families in need.
Q: How will the council conduct the criminal background check?
A: Volunteers will submit their information to the online self-service portal operated through Verified Volunteers to initiate the criminal background check themselves after selecting a volunteer position through our adult registration process (for new members) or through the member profile for existing members/caregivers of existing members
Q: How long does the background check take?
A: Completing the actual background check request online will take approximately 10 minutes. The background check results report should be available to Girl Scouts of Colorado within four weeks.
Q: I already have a recent background check from another organization, can I use that to fulfill this requirement?
A: Unfortunately, since not all background checks use the same set of criteria and many are tailored to each organization that requires them, Girl Scouts of Colorado cannot accept any other background check, including those conducted by other Girl Scout councils.  All volunteers in Girl Scouts of Colorado are required to complete the Verified Volunteer background check as well as the Colorado Abuse Registry search.  
Q: How often do I have to repeat the background checks?
Background check re-screening is an important, responsible step that youth-serving organizations are implementing as a way to ensure a safer environment for children in today’s world. It’s important to keep in mind the information we gather about an individual during a screening is only as current as the date on which we obtain it. For this reason, GSUSA recommends all councils repeat the criminal background screening process every few years. Additionally, some of our partners, such as American Camping Association, require regular screening and re-screening as part of the accreditation process.
GSCO requires background checks every 3 years.
Q: Who are Verified Volunteers?
A: Verified Volunteers is an online background screening company based out of Fort Collins. Verified Volunteers is part of the largest background screening company in the world – Sterling Talent Solutions, and is a partner with Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Verified Volunteers has offices in many states, and well as global support. The stateside fulfillment department is housed in the Independence, Ohio offices – the fulfillment staff there will be managing the transmission of the TRAILS release forms to CDHS, the collection of the results, and finalizing the reports for publishing to Verified Volunteers. Once an order is placed our volunteers can log into their account at any time, from anywhere, for any purpose – whether they need to update their request with missing information or are just curious about the status of their background check. And as an added bonus, with the Volunteer Fast-Pass, volunteers can get screened once and share with as many organizations on the Verified Volunteers platform as they’d like.
Q: How do I know my personal information is safe?
A:  We are committed to safeguarding your personal information. You will be submitting your personal information directly to our reputable, secure online vendor, Verified Volunteers, who operate a secure website. No one else will have access to your information.
Q: Who sees the criminal background check report?
A: Only select Girl Scouts of Colorado staff see the results of the criminal background check. The results are kept confidential and are never shared with other volunteers or members. Only three Girl Scouts of Colorado staff members have access to view background check results and those results are kept confidential.
Q: Will I get a copy of the background check report?
A: As a member of Verified Volunteers you’ll be able to access all your information through your online account, be able to track where you’ve shared it, your current status and more.
Q: What if the information is inaccurate?
A: All volunteers can submit disputes through Verified Volunteers by contacting them at 855.326.1860. Volunteers should update Girl Scouts of Colorado on the current status of their dispute and its resolution.
Q:  If a criminal background is uncovered, will the volunteer automatically be barred from volunteering with Girl Scouts of Colorado?
A: Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our girl members and their families. When an unfavorable background is reported several factors are taken into account when determining whether a person may hold a volunteer position and they are reviewed individually.
Q: Will Lifetime Members need to complete a background check?
A: Yes, Lifetime members are held to the same standards and procedures as other Girl Scout volunteers, and will be required to complete a background check every three years on a recurring basis if volunteering.
Q: What happens if I don’t submit a background check?
A: The policies of Girl Scouts of Colorado state that all volunteers must complete this portion of the screening process. New volunteer applicants are not eligible to volunteer until a clear background check report is received. Likewise, returning volunteers must also complete the background check, on a periodic basis, to be appointed to a volunteer position.
Q: Why does the Colorado Abuse Registry search ask about my race?  
A: This is standard on the Colorado Department of Human Services’ form, however it is not required to share that information. You can choose the “I prefer not to answer” option.
Q: Why does the Colorado Abuse Registry search ask about my children and spouses if it’s only my background you’re checking?
A: The Colorado Department of Human Services encourages disclosure of as many names as possible, to get as comprehensive a view as possible into household history as they look for victims or abusers. The form can collect up to 10 spouses and 10 children.
Q: If a spouse or former spouse has a confirmed report of child abuse or neglect in his/her background, how would that affect my appointment as a Girl Scout volunteer?
A: Verified Volunteers will report to Girl Scouts of Colorado only relevant results about the applicant’s background, not the backgrounds of spouses. If a spouse or former spouse is going to be involved in the troop, they should complete their own background check.
Q: Why is the Colorado Abuse Registry search different from the standard background check?
A: The Colorado Department of Human Service’s Trails database will reveal any confirmed reports of child abuse or neglect in Colorado. The standard background check looks at criminal history in all counties and states you’ve lived in the for the past 7 years.

Q: Will my personal information be shared with anyone?
A: Rest assured that we never share your personally identifiable information (i.e. your Social Security Number) with anyone - including your volunteer organization.

Q: Does Verified Volunteers securely store and transmit my data?
A: Verified Volunteers complies with all national and local regulations with respect to the storage and transmission of sensitive data which is hosted in ISO 27001-audited data centers.

Q: Is my information safe with Verified Volunteers?
A: Yes. The Verified Volunteers platform is audited regularly throughout the year by external vendors. These audits include a network perimeter security assessment, an application penetration test and a physical security assessment.

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