Volunteer Work & Background Checks


We know about the importance of background checks as it pertains to the process of hiring a new employee. There are multiple reasons and they cannot be overstated: Screening a potential employee through a reliable background check allow a hiring manager to lessen the risk of a negligent hiring lawsuit and increases the chances of a safe working environment.

These safe practices can extend beyond the standard hiring process. Let’s look at what’s happening in one area of Ohio. Later this year, 4-H volunteers and other Ohio State University Extension employees working with young people or at-risk adults will be required to undergo background checks every four years.

The impact likely will not be known until this requirement goes into effect. According to one report, many counties in the area often have more than 100 4-H volunteers being used in a given year. That’s a lot of people who could be subjected to background checks.

The other issue is financial. Ohio currently has no idea how it will pay for all these background checks. Reports say the cost will be $28-$35 per background check. The background checks will include fingerprinting and annual training on how to recognize signs of child abuse and neglect.

Area 4-H officials say they are not worried that background checks will deter people from volunteer. The organization says the background check policy is about maintaining safety.