Prospective Member Screening Policies
All Timebank applicants go through a basic level of screening, that includes a Washington State Patrol (WSP) criminal background check and contact with references. A picture ID is also checked.
Why do we conduct background checks on volunteers and members prior to accepting them?
It is part of risk management process to screen out persons whose service would pose an unacceptable risk to Timebanks of Puget Sound (TOPS) members. Since timebank members have access to the member database, and can coordinate exchanges with other members, without supervision, all members are screened. This also applies to volunteers who have access to the member database that may not be members, for consistency. For this document, “applicant” is used to mean a person applying to be a volunteer with access to the member database or a member. Background checks are just one step in the screening process which includes completing an application, and may include interview and reference checks. Arrest and conviction records are reviewed with three factors in mind:
- the nature and gravity of the offense
- the time that has passed since the conviction
- the nature of the position sought (for volunteers)
What is the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act RCW 43.43.830-43.43.845?
The Washington State Legislature finds that businesses and organizations providing services to children, developmentally disabled persons, and vulnerable adults need adequate information to determine which employees, volunteers, or licensees to hire or engage. Therefore, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Identification and Criminal History Section may disclose, upon request, convictions of all crimes and pending arrests of crimes against persons as defined in RCW 9.94A.411. Pending arrests are those less than one year old without disposition. Responses are limited to Washington State records only. The requesting agency must notify the applicant of the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section’s response.
Who may do a background check under the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act?
Businesses, organizations and others in the state of Washington, who educate, train, treat, supervise house or provide recreation to children under sixteen years of age, developmentally disabled persons or vulnerable adults may do a background check on prospective employees, volunteers, or adoptive parents. The background check is for initial employment or engagement decisions only. The requesting agency must notify the applicant of the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section’s response. Background checks on existing employees should be done through the Criminal Records Privacy Act, RCW 10.97.
In all cases, when a background check has been run and the Executive Director, other specifically-designated TOPS staff, or designated board member has found that a legal record (or list of charges) is affiliated with the applicant in question, the Executive Director or designated board member will be notified of the presence of any charges. Timebanks of Puget Sound must also notify the applicant of the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section’s response by mailing a copy of the WATCH transcript to the applicant, within 10 days of receipt.
Applicants are rejected for the following offenses in all Timebanks of Puget Sound programs. Any felony conviction.
Applicants may or may not be approved with the following offenses:
Applicants falling into the “may or may not be approved” list will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Process for background check screening is as follows:
1. Applicants complete a Washington State Patrol check release form as part of the application. Applicants who are between 12-16 are not required to complete the WSP, unless they are applying to complete court-ordered community service.
2. The application asks the applicant to list all addresses they have resided in for the last 10 years. If the applicant has lived outside Washington State at any time in the last 7 years, a broader background check is then done, to cover the previous address areas. (TalentWiseMulti-State Criminal Database Search (45 states participate in the database), 50 State Premium Sex Offender Registry Check, and Social Security Verification – currently $34.50 per report.) If the previous addresses are outside the 45 state area, a custom Talentwise 7 yr Onsite Jurisdiction Search based on the address history of the applicant, and the premium Sex Offender Registry Check, is done. (Currently at a cost of $42.00, per applicant.) If the applicant has lived in Washington State for all of the 7 years, only the Washington State WATCH check is done. TOPS never receives the applicant’s social security number directly. TalentWise is the bonded entity that will directly contact the application for their social security number.
3. The application also asks the applicant if they have been convicted of a crime or have had findings made against them in any civil adjudicative proceeding. It also asks if they have had any court orders against them, and if so, for a copy or reference number of the court order. The Background Check Committee will review the facts and determine whether or not to approve the applicant.
4. If the applicant is approved, the Executive Director or the neighborhood/community timebank Coordinator informs the applicant.
5. If there are questions that come up, such as a criminal record, or inability to complete the check due to a duplicate match or common name, the Executive Director other specifically-designated TOPS staff, or designated board member shall discuss the situation with the applicant to determine if data is available to enable a check to be completed.
6. The Timebanks of Puget Sound Background Check Committee: the Timebanks of Puget Sound board shall elect a Background Check Committee, consisting of 3 or more members. At least one member shall be a board member, and a board member shall chair the committee. It shall ideally include a lawyer or individual with criminal justice experience.
7. If a criminal record that falls into either of the 2 categories above is found for an applicant, or if there is a court order against the applicant per the above step, the Executive Director reviews the record and/or court order with the Timebanks of Puget Sound Background Check Committee to determine the risk to the organization of accepting the applicant. The committee can either choose to make the decision itself, or can bring the decision to the board if desired. If an applicant disagrees with a decision, they can request to meet with the board to appeal their case to the board. The committee shall inform the board when a decision is made regarding candidates that fall into the “may or may not be approved” list above.
8. If applicant is approved or not approved, the Timebanks of Puget Sound Executive Director informs the applicant.
9. If additional information is deemed to be required, applicant may be asked to complete an Intelius/TalentWise background check release form. This process searches by social security number, which the WSP no longer does, and can also retrieve other state records.
10. If the applicant chooses not to complete the Intelius/TalentWise form when it is required, he/she will not be approved to become a member or become a volunteer with access to the member database and the Timebanks of Puget Sound Executive Director informs him/her and the Background Check Committee.
11. If the applicant completes the form and the background check is clear, the neighborhood/community timebank Coordinator or the Executive Director informs the applicant. If the Intelius/TalentWise background check is not clear, the Timebanks of Puget Sound Executive Director, specifically-designated TOPS staff or a designated board member reviews the report with the Background Check Committee, per the process above. The Executive Director, or a member of the Background Check Committee, informs applicant directly regarding the disposition of their application.
Resources: Washington State Criminal Code: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW
Washington Access to Criminal History: https://watch.wsp.wa.gov