21-22 Volunteer Iowa Sample NSCHC Procedures - DCI

Date: 
09/03/2021
Document Text Version

 [Sample Organization/Program] National Service Criminal History Check (NSCHC) Procedures

 [SOURCE: NSOPW & STATE REPOSITORY]

 

In order to comply with the [Sample Organization/Program]’s National Service Criminal History Check (NSCHC) Policy, staff (as identified) will follow the procedures below. These procedures apply to all members, as well as to staff who are required to complete the NSCHC under the AmeriCorps agency definitions. Throughout this document, the term “individual” will be used to refer to the prospective member or staff person who is anticipated to be serving or working on the AmeriCorps grant.

 

In the absence of the [program director], the responsibilities outlined herein will be carried out by the [staff title] and in their absence by the [Executive Director]. At all times, at least one staff member must be responsible for NSCHC checks. Therefore, the [executive director] should appoint an alternate staff member in their absence, if necessary.

 

The following procedures will be followed when performing background checks on individuals subject to the NSCHC. All components of the NSCHC must be completed and adjudicated at least one day before the individual's first day of service or work. A compliant NSCHC check includes three components:

  • A nationwide check of the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)
  • A state check of the individual’s state of service and  (if the prospective member or staff resides in another state at the time of application ) of their state of residence
  • A fingerprint-based check of the FBI criminal history record database

 

Staff are encouraged to review the NSCHC Checklist for definitions and descriptions on many of the terms contained in these procedures. All background check materials and results will be maintained in a confidential manner in accordance with the federal AmeriCorps agency and Volunteer Iowa policies and [sample organization/program] policies.

 

  1. DETERMINE COVERED STATUS
    1. All members over the age of 18 at the time they begin service are subject to the NSCHC.  For members, the [program director] will begin the NSCHC after [Determine when checks will begin- for example: the member has accepted a contingent offer and accepted selection or invitation in the My AmeriCorps Portal / eGrants.]
    2. All staff over the age of 18 at the time they begin working on the grant and who appear in the budget are subject to the NSCHC. Therefore, with each new grant year, the [program director] will determine which staff are included in the budget and ensure they have a completed and compliant NSCHC on file. In addition, anytime a new staff member is brought into the grant, the program director will ensure that a NSCHC is conducted in accordance with the policies and procedures. The [program director] will begin the NSCHC when a new staff member is identified and at the beginning of each grant year.
    3. The following individuals are exempt from NSCHC:
      1. Individuals who are under the age of 18 on the first day of work or service. In place of the NSCHC, [Sample organization/program] staff will complete the “NSCHC Under 18 Memo Document” found on the Volunteer Iowa website and retain this document in the individual’s file.
      2. Individuals whose activity is entirely included in the grant recipient’s indirect cost rate or cost allocation plan
      3. Individuals who do not appear in the AmeriCorps budget (federal share or match)
      4. Individuals that are classified as contractors/consultants
  2. BEGIN THE BACKGROUND CHECK PROCESS
    1. The program director will begin the NSCHC process, including the NSOPW, required state check(s), and the FBI check by sending an email (NSCHC Requirements Email) to the individual explaining the background check process and [consent/waiver forms and consideration policy] to be signed. The forms will authorize [sample organization/program] to run checks of the required NSCHC components and notifies the individual that enrollment in the program is contingent upon the results and means to challenge the factual accuracy of the results. The individual will also receive in person or by mail two fingerprint cards and instructions from the [sample organization/program]. The instructions will outline how the individual shall procure and submit the completed fingerprint cards to [sample organization/program].
      1. To conduct the NSOPW, the program will search the website directly, www.nsopw.gov.
      2. To conduct the required state checks, the [Sample program] will be utilizing the official state repository for the appropriate individual state to conduct state of service and state of residence background checks, as applicable. The state repository will be identified using “NSOPW and State Repositories for NSOPW, State and FBI Checks” manual or the latest version provided by the AmeriCorps agency at https://americorps.gov/grantees-sponsors/history-check. [Sample organization/program] has an approved account through the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), which is used for all Iowa state checks.
      3. To conduct the FBI finger-print check processing, [sample program] will use its approved Iowa DCI account.
    2. The state where an individual “resides” is the location the individual identifies as their place of residence at the moment in time they applied to serve or work.
      1. The state of residence will be determined by [Determine state of residence at time of application example: The program director will have the candidate sign the {sample agency} NSCHC Acknowledgement form, capturing the candidate’s state of residence at time of application and understanding of the checks being run.]
      2. For the purpose of AmeriCorps agency requirements, an individual applying to serve or work who is enrolled as a full-time college student is deemed to be residing in the state where they live for the purpose of attending the school without regards to whether or not that home is on- or off-campus, and whether or not that home is in the same state as the college is located.
  3. BEGIN THE NSCHC DOCUMENTATION CHECKLIST
    1. The [program director] will insert the first and last name(s) of the individual as they appear on the government-issued ID or other identification provided. Insert the start date for the individual after all components of the check have been completed and adjudicated. With each step noted within the procedures, the NSCHC checklist must be updated with the accurate and timely information.  The [program director] must manage the NSCHC process to ensure that results are completed, adjudicated, recorded, and maintained. Note: the [program director] will utilize the NSCHC checklist as required by Volunteer Iowa [or other approved documentation checklist] and will confirm the correct form on an annual basis.
  4. VERIFY IDENTIFICATION
  1. The individual will submit a government-issued photo ID to the program. If the individual does not have access a government-issued photo ID, they must provide two other forms of ID, that together, reasonably verify the identity of the individual. *(See the NSCHC Other Identification Examples from Volunteer Iowa.)
  2.  The program director will verify the individual’s identification and document, in writing, what ID was reviewed. Documentation can include making a copy of the ID to retain in the individual’s file or recording the name and identification number (if applicable) of the ID reviewed.
  3. Complete the “verification of identity” section of the NSCHC Checklist.
  1. CONDUCT NSOPW
    1. The [program director] will conduct a search of the www.nsopw.gov website using the first and last name(s) of the individual  as it appears on the primary identification provided (if there was any discrepancy in the name provided the program should document how it determined the primary ID and name to use for the purposes of name-based checks).
    2. When the results are returned, [the program director] will review and print the results and take the following steps:
      1. NO FINDINGS: If the individual has no hits, the {program director] will initial and date the printed result to demonstrate that the results have been considered.
      2. FINDINGS THAT DO NOT RELATE TO THE INDIVIDUAL: If there are results under the individual’s name, the [program director] must eliminate the individual as the person proposing to be serving/working with the program.  For example, the individual may have a different birth date or physical appearance than the individual on the sex offender registry.  If a hit is eliminated, the [program director] must initial by each “hit” indicating that this is not the prospective staff/member. When all results have been reviewed the [program director] will sign and date the printed result to demonstrate that the results have been considered.
      3. FINDINGS THAT DO RELATE TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND, THEREFORE, ELIMINATE THE INDIVIDUAL FROM CONSIDERATION: With results that eliminate the person from placement. If the person on the registry appears to be the individual, the [program director] must initial and date at the bottom indicating that they considered the results and also make a notation that the person is eliminated due to a finding on the sex offender registry. Proceed to the step that explains the process for giving the individual the opportunity to clarify or challenge the factual accuracy of the finding.
      4. SOME JURISDICTIONS NOT REPORTING: If some jurisdictions are not included in the report, the [program director] will re-run the NSOPW [at least once per day every day] until the missing jurisdiction(s) are reporting.  The [program director] will then print the results, clearly noting the name and date they were run, and follow the instructions in steps 3i. through 3iii regarding review and adjudication of the findings.  If the jurisdiction is still missing by the day before the individual’s proposed start date, the [program director] will go to the missing jurisdiction’s state sex offender registry and run a check using the name from the government issued ID.
    3. When the NSOPW checks for all states, territories and Indian Country are completed, the [program director] will print and attach all documentation in the individual’s file, including the printed NSOPW results, any associated documentation detailing consideration and printouts from additional registries, if needed.
  2. CONDUCT STATE CHECK(S)
    1. For members whose state of residence is Iowa, no state check will be run because Iowa participates in the National Fingerprint File (NFF) program and the Iowa check would be duplicative of the FBI check. The [program director] will indicate on the documentation checklist that the Iowa state check was not applicable due to the NFF.
    2. For the applicant’s state of residence at the time of application, the program will first consult the latest AmeriCorps agency guidance on whether the state of residence check is required or waived due to a pre-approved waiver (such as the NFF).
    3. If the individual indicated another state of residence at the time of application that is not waived in a pre-approved NSCHC Waiver, the [sample organization/program] will conduct a search of the official state repository of that state using the first and last name(s) as they appear on the ID provided (see note in the NSOPW section about determining the primary ID to use in case of any discrepancy). The state repository will be identified using only the most recent “Using NSOPW and State Repositories Manual” or the latest version provided by the AmeriCorps agency at https://americorps.gov/grantees-sponsors/history-check
    4. When the results are returned, the [program director] will review and print the results and take the following steps:
      1. NO FINDINGS:  If the individual has no hits, the [program director will initial and date the form to demonstrate that the results have been considered.
      2. FINDINGS THAT REQUIRE ADDITIONAL CLARIFICATION: If the individual has findings, the [program director will initial and date the form indicating that they considered the results, and will seek clarification from the applicant and possibly from another approved source. The results of the clarification will be documented in the individual’s file, along with the date of the adjudication of any clarifying materials, and a confirming notation will be made on the NSCHC checklist.
      3. FINDINGS THAT RENDER AN INDIVIDUAL INELIGIBLE FOR AMERICORPS SERVICE/WORK If the individual has a murder or sex offense conviction or if the individual makes an intentional false statement in connection with NSCHC that makes them ineligible for service pursuant to the AmeriCorps agency’s policies, the [program director] will initial and date the form indicating that they considered the results and will notify the individual, giving them the opportunity to challenge the factual accuracy of the findings.
      4. FINDINGS THAT RENDER AN INDIVIDUAL UNSUITABLE FOR AMERICORPS SERVICE/WORK ACCORDING TO PROGRAM SUITABILITY CRITERIA: If the individual has another finding that makes them unsuitable for service  under the [sample organization/program] suitability criteria, staff will initial and date the form indicating that they considered the results and also make a notation that the person is eliminated due to the finding that renders them unsuitable under program policies.  The program will also notify the individual, giving them the opportunity to challenge the factual accuracy of the findings.
  3. CONDUCT FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) CHECK
    1. The [program director] will review the Information on the FBI Fingerprint Card submitted to the program by the applicant to ensure that the first and last name(s) are in agreement with the primary government issued identification provided by the individual (see note in NSOPW section about determining the primary ID in case of discrepancies in name).
    2. [Sample organization/program] will follow the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) policies and procedures to submit the FBI Fingerprint Card and any other required information to the DCI for running of the FBI check.
    3. If [sample organization/program] has not received full results from the FBI within four weeks, the [program director] will contact the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to inquire about the status of the results.  A copy of the communication to DCI and the response (if any) will be retained in the member file.  After the initial contact, the [program director] will continue to reach out to the DCI every week and retain documentation of such communication until the results are received.  If the request has been submitted but results are not received by [two weeks] before the member start date, the [Program Director] will contact the Volunteer Iowa Program Officer to identify the next steps, such as obtaining approval for a NSCHC Waiver for that individual.
    4. When the FBI check is returned, the completion date will be recorded by the program staff on the NSCHC Checklist under “FBI Checks” and staff will consider the results and document and take action on the results in the same manner as noted for state checks in steps 6.d. i-iv.
  4. PROGRAM SUITABILITY CRITERIA
    1. The [Sample Organization/Program]’s NSCHC policies allow the program to consider individual circumstances surrounding most criminal offenses prior to making a determination of an individual’s suitability to serve or work with the program. In these cases, findings from a NSCHC check that require further explanation will be brought to the attention of the individual. The individual will have the opportunity to provide details of the event in writing, such as length of time since the offense, nature of the offense, circumstances surrounding the offense, etc., in order that the program may decide about the individual’s suitability for service/work. The decision about suitability will be made by the [program director], program leader, and [executive director]. The individual may use the program’s grievance procedure to challenge the suitability decision. [Note: please see the program Grievance Procedure for more information on how grievances are handled.]
  5. INDIVIDUAL’S OPPORTUNITY TO CHALLENGE THE RESULT
    1. If an individual has a result the renders them ineligible or unsuitable to serve under federal or program requirements, the individual has the ability to challenge the factual accuracy of the results. That is, they can demonstrate that the results that were found were not related to them or that the charge is otherwise not correctly recorded. They must notify the [program director] within 45 days of being provided the results of their intent to challenge the factual accuracy.   The individual may then be given a reasonable period of time to secure and provide additional documentation to challenge the program’s results. If the individual does not provide this information, the decision will stand.  For reference as to how to challenge the result the member may be referred to the AmeriCorps “Challenging a Not Cleared Recommendation for an Individual Applicant” handout.
  6. DOCUMENT COMPLETION OF THE CHECKS IN THE NSCHC CHECKLIST
    1. The complete and adjudicated NSCHC file for each member or staff should have at minimum [include all relevant documents that will be contained in the member file – for examples see below]:
      1. Completed and signed Volunteer Iowa NSCHC Checklist [or other approved checklist]
      2. Verified Copy of Government issued ID
      3. Copy of NSOPW / States / FBI initiation email
      4. Consent/waiver forms and consideration policy.
      5. Copy of completed and adjudicated NSOPW results
      6. Copy of completed and adjudicated state of residence check, if applicable
      7. Copy of completed and adjudicated FBI results
    2. Based on individual circumstances, especially in the case of challenged results, other documentation may be necessary and will be retained.
  7. CHECK COMPLETION COMMUNICATION & TIMELINE
    1. After an NSCHC has been completed, adjudicated, the file completed, and the candidate determined to be suitable for selection the [program director] will communicate with the member or staff regarding their start date for work or service.
    2. All components of the NSCHC must be completed and adjudicated at least one day before the individual’s first day or service or work. NSCHC completion and certification will be indicated in eGrants during member enrollments. NSCHC completion will be documented on the NSCHC Documentation Checklist for staff.
  8. NSCHC WAIVER REQUESTS
    1. PRE-APPROVED:
      1. Check the AmeriCorps agency’s pre-approved Waivers to determine if the reason for the Waiver is already pre-approved (i.e. the state of residence is also an NFF state). If the circumstance is already pre-approved for a non-vendor related Waiver, the [program director] will summarize the Waiver information and reference number on the NSCHC Documentation Checklist.
    2. GOOD CAUSE: If the program is unable to abide by the NSCHC rule and there is not a pre-approved Waiver, the agency may waive requirements for good cause or any other lawful basis.
      1. The program will contact Volunteer Iowa for more information on the Waiver process. For example, if the program experiences a significant delay in obtaining an individual's results a waiver may be approved to allow the member to start while checks are pending.
      2. , Volunteer Iowa will complete the NSCHC Waiver Request Form on behalf of the [sample organization/program]. The Volunteer Iowa program officer will keep the program informed of the status of the Waiver. If approved, the [program director] will record the Waiver information on the NSCHC checklist. In addition, the [program director] will retain a copy of the approved Waiver for their records.
    3. RERUNNING OR MAINTAINING RECORDS FOR CONTINUING MEMBERS/STAFF: For members or staff continuing service with a break of less than 180 days, the [Sample Organization/Program] will not re-run the checks, however, the NSCHC files will be transferred to the most recent member or staff file. In order to do so, the program director will simply move all NSCHC documentation into the most recent staff or member file and complete a new NSCHC Documentation Checklist for the subsequent term. In addition, the [program director] will include a memo to the prior year’s file where the NSCHC documentation was removed. The memo should indicate that the individual continued service or work and that their NSCHC documentation has been moved to the most recent program year file.
      1. For individuals with breaks of greater than 180 days, the individual is subject to all components of the NSCHC following the [Sample Organization/Program]’s policies and procedures and the checks must be re-run.
      2. If an individual was under the age of 18 for their previous term(s) of service and turns 18 before a consecutive term, then the individual is subject to all components of the NSCHC prior to the start date of their consecutive term following the [sample organization/program] policies and procedures.
  9. NATIONAL SERVICE CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECK DISALLOWANCE
    1. SELF-REPORTING
      1. If the [program director] identifies areas of noncompliance within the NSCHC documentation, they will submit the self-report to the Volunteer Iowa program officer. The following information will be provided:
        1. Date of reporting
        2. Date of discovery
        3. Nature of noncompliance
        4. Scope of noncompliance (to the extent it is known)
        5. How the noncompliance was identified
        6. Any corrective actions taken by [generic program]
      2. The program officer will provide you with next steps and ultimately resolve the situation through disallowance or closure.
  10. DOCUMENTATION
    1. If a program is assessed a disallowance under the NSCHC, Volunteer Iowa will inform the program of the amount of the disallowance and next steps. The [program director] will attach a memo to each individual’s file associated with the disallowance. In addition, the [program director] will retain a complete list of files with related disallowances in the program’s records for the grant year.

Printed from the website on May 20, 2022 at 10:41pm.