21-22 Volunteer Iowa Sample NSCHC Procedures - VENDORS

Date: 
08/27/2021
Document Text Version

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

Description automatically generated [SOURCE: AMERICORPS APPROVED VENDORS, TRUESCREEN & FIELDPRINT]

 

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

The [Sample program] will be utilizing the AmeriCorps agency approved vendors, Truescreen and Fieldprint to conduct all components of the NSCHC.

 

Staff are encouraged to review the NSCHC Checklist for definitions and descriptions of 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.
    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.
  1. BEGIN THE BACKGROUND CHECK PROCESS
    1. The program director will begin the NSCHC process, including the NSOPW, required state checks, and the FBI check by sending an NSCHC Requirements Email to the individual. The email will contain instructions for the individual on how to carry out the checks. The email will contain instructions on how to use the TrueScreen / My Application Station to run the NSOPW & States checks. The email will also contain information for the individual on how to complete the Fieldprint FBI Check.
    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 [Indicate how state of residence at time of application will be determined, for example: The program director will use the state of residence as noted by the individual in Truescreen].
      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. 
  1. BEGIN THE NSCHC DOCUMENTATION CHECKLIST
    1. The [program director] will insert the first and last name(s) of the individual as it appears 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 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.
  1. VERIFY IDENTIFICATION
  1. The program will document and verify the individual’s identification. [The individual is not required to upload document in Truescreen, so the program can collect ID outside of the system, but this example uses Truescreen to document ID: The individual will use the TrueScreen system to upload a government-issued photo ID. If the individual does not have access to a current 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 ID [using the checkbox on TrueScreen] and will print a copy of the ID to keep in the member’s file.
  3. Complete the “verification of identity” section of the NSCHC Checklist.
  1. OBTAIN CONSENT AND RUN NSOPW & State Checks (if State of Residence is not Iowa)
    1. The [program director] will conduct a search of National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) and state of residence using the TrueScreen system. No consent is required for NSOPW; Truescreen obtains the individual’s consent for state checks.  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 with the FBI check. In this case, the program will select “NSOPW ONLY” from the alphabetical dropdown list in Truescreen.
      1.  For states other than Iowa, the program will consult the latest AmeriCorps agency guidance on whether the state of residence check is not required due to a pre-approved NSCHC Waiver, such as a Truescreen exemption or National Fingerprint File.  The program will run the other state of residence check if there is no applicable waiver.
    2. TrueScreen will capture the individual’s consent to these checks and provide notice that selection for work or service is contingent upon the organization's review of the National Service Criminal History Check component results. The program director will print and maintain a copy of this authorization in the individual’s file.
  1. OBTAIN CONSENT AND RUN FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) CHECK
    1. The program will email the individual instructions to set up an appointment at a local Fieldprint location to complete the FBI check.  Two forms of identification are required to be presented at the Fieldprint appointment, one of which must be a current government-issued photo identification.  See Fieldprint FAQs.
    2. Fieldprint captures the individual’s consent to run this check and provides notice that selection for work or service is contingent upon the organization's review of the National Service Criminal History Check component results. The program will keep a copy of this authorization/consent in the individual’s file.
    3. The individual is then responsible to make an appointment and to get fingerprinted. The [program director] must follow up as necessary to ensure that this appointment is scheduled and attended.
      1. A Fieldprint Livescan location is preferred.
      2. In the instance that a Livescan location is unavailable to the individual, they may select other sites that can capture fingerprints using paper cards (these are often law enforcement agencies). If the applicant selects this option, the [Program Director] will contact Fieldprint who will then mail a fingerprint card and packet to the individual. The individual will then get fingerprinted and mail the completed card to Fieldprint, using instructions provided in the information packet. Once Fieldprint receives the fingerprints, the rest of the Fieldprint process is the same. The fingerprint packet mailing process will result in the check taking more time to complete and could delay member enrollment or staff beginning work on the grant.
  1. REVIEW CHECK RESULTS AND MAKE A DETERMINATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL’S ELIGIBILITY AND SUITABILITY FOR THE POSITION (I.E. “ADJUDICATE” THE RESULTS)
    1. When the NSOPW & state of residence results and Truescreen adjudication recommendations (PASS or PRE-ADVERSE) are returned, the [program director] will print the results and then review them in order to make an eligibility determination based on the findings of the check(s):
    2. NO FINDINGS: If the individual has no NSOPW name matches and no state criminal history findings, the [program director] will initial and date at the bottom to demonstrate that the results have been considered and the individual is eligible and suitable for service per these checks.
    3. FINDINGS THAT REQUIRE ADDITIONAL CLARIFICATION: If the individual has findings that do not clearly indicate if the member is eligible or suitable for the position, the [program director] will initial and date at the bottom indicating that they considered the results but also make a notation that additional clarification is needed. The [program director] will seek additional information from the vendor, the individual, and/or another approved source to clarify the findings before making a final eligibility determination. The program will also follow TrueScreen’s process using the Pre-adverse adjudication to alert the individual that there are findings that may eliminate them from consideration, giving the member the chance to challenge factual accuracy of the findings with TrueScreen.
    1. When the FBI check is returned, the [program director] will review and consider the results and make an eligibility determination/ adjudication decision to be entered into the Fieldprint system:
    2. Fieldprint Fitness Determination/ Adjudication Recommendation: CLEARED. If the NSOPW and states also indicate that the individual is eligible, the [program director] will document consideration of the checks in Fieldprint and note that the individual is eligible and suitable for service.
    3. Fieldprint Fitness Determination/ Adjudication Recommendation: NOT CLEARED. The [program director] will notify the individual that there are findings that may eliminate them from consideration and provide them the opportunity to request an individual FBI check directly in order to receive the full FBI results and demonstrate their eligibility for work/service (See "Challenging a Not Cleared Recommendation for an Individual Applicant”.  The individual will be given a reasonable deadline to secure their individual FBI check results and provide them to the program.   When the full results are received the member is also given the chance to challenge the factual accuracy of the findings.

 

    1. FINDINGS THAT RENDER AN INDIVIDUAL INELIGIBLE FOR AMERICORPS SERVICE/WORK: If the person has a finding, that eliminates them from service eligibility under the AmeriCorps agency’s policies, the [program director] must initial and date and/or electronically adjudicate the results in the vendor system, indicating that they considered the results and that the person is ineligible. The program will also notify the individual (either in writing directly or through the Truescreen pre-adverse letter process) of the findings, giving the member the chance to challenge their factual accuracy.
    2. FINDINGS THAT RENDER AN INDIVIDUAL UNSUITABLE FOR AMERICORPS SERVICE/WORK ACCORDING TO PROGRAM SUITABILITY CRITERIA: If there are findings that do not affect eligibility, the [program director and authorized staff member] will consider the findings according to the program’s suitability criteria.   The [program director and/or authorized staff member] may seek additional information from the individual as noted in the program’s policy.  Findings from the suitability determination process will be documented and saved to the staff or member’s file. The program will also notify the individual (either directly or through the Truescreen pre-adverse letter process) of the findings, giving the individual the chance to challenge their factual accuracy.
    3. PROGRAM SUITABILITY CRITERIA: 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. Findings from a NSCHC check that require further consideration will be brought to the attention of the individual. The individual will have the opportunity to provide details related to the finding, and the program will consider the following criteria: length of time since the offense, nature of the offense in relation to the proposed service/work activities to be assigned, and evidence demonstrating the individual’s rehabilitation. The decision about suitability will be made by the [program director] 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.]
    4. INDIVIDUAL’S OPPORTUNITY TO CHALLENGE THE RESULT: If an individual has a result that 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.
    5. FINAL ELIGIBILITY/SUITABILITY DETERMINATION REQUIRED- [Sample organization/program] staff must enter a final adjudication decision in Truescreen & Fieldprint. If the program does not enter a final adjudication decision, the check may be considered noncompliant.  For Fieldprint, regardless of the Fieldprint recommendation, if the [program director] does not enter a final adjudication decision, the check cannot be deemed compliant without supplemental documentation verifying that an eligibility determination was made outside of Fieldprint, such as printed, signed, and dated results from authorized staff indicating that the results were considered prior to the individual’s start date.
    6.  
  1. DOCUMENT COMPLETION OF THE CHECKS IN THE NSCHC CHECKLIST
  1. When the NSOPW checks and criminal history check for state of residence (if applicable) are completed, enter the information into the “National Sex Offender Public Website” and state of residence section of the NSCHC checklist. If the state of residence is Iowa, this section does not need to be filled out because an FBI check will suffice. Note: the date completed is the date the results have been considered and a final eligibility/suitability determination is made by the [program director].
  2. When the FBI checks are completed, the completion date will be recorded by the [program staff] on the NSCHC Checklist under “FBI Checks.” Note: the date completed is the date the results have been considered and a final eligibility/suitability determination is made by the [program director].
  3. Print and attach all documentation to the checklist. The complete and adjudicated NSCHC file for each member or staff should have at minimum:
      1. Completed & signed Volunteer Iowa NSCHC Checklist
      2. Verified Copy of Government issued ID
      3. Copy of TrueScreen candidate authorization/consent
      4. Copy of Fieldprint candidate authorization/consent
      5. Adjudicated copy of complete TrueScreen Report/completed copy of TrueScreen Adjudication Page
      6. Adjudicated copy of results from Fieldprint
  4. Based on individual circumstances, especially in the case of challenged results, other documentation may be necessary and will be retained.
  1. 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 adjudication will be certified in eGrants during member enrollments. NSCHC completion will be documented on the NSCHC Documentation Checklist for staff.
  1. NSCHC WAIVER REQUESTS
  1. GOOD CAUSE: If the program is unable to abide by the NSCHC rule, the agency may waive requirements for good cause or any other lawful basis. 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
    2. 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.

 

 

 

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