What is screening?
Screening is an on-going process designed to identify any person (volunteer or staff) who may harm children or vulnerable persons. Volunteer screening serves two main purposes:
- to create and maintain a safe environment
- to ensure an appropriate match between volunteer and task
Though a relatively new concept, volunteer screening is being adopted by a growing number of organizations. The process includes assessing risk, writing position descriptions, discerning suitability of an individual for a given task, providing training and, when necessary, modifying the setting and arrangement of task.
Volunteers frequently have a highly public role on behalf of a non-profit organization; they are persons who are seen first and most often by individuals dealing with the non-profit organization. We can manage several risks by effectively screening, evaluating and placing volunteers.
The Safe Steps are much like a menu; you need only select those steps that apply specifically to positions within your organization. The key to a successful screening program is to use the steps in a way that best suits a specific position.
There are 10 Safe Steps to Screening:
- Determining the risk
- Writing clear position descriptions
- Establishing a formal recruiting process
- Using an application form
- Conducting interviews
- Following up on references
- Requesting/Requiring criminal records checks (crc)
- Conducting orientation and training sessions
- Supervising and evaluating
- Following-up on program participants
Any organization that provides programs to vulnerable people has an obligation to appropriately screen people, including volunteers. Screening is not only the right thing to do; it is legally required under the principle of “Duty of Care.”