California Parks and Recreation Agencies and Background Checks

Q. Is LiveScan mandated for all volunteer positions in California Park and Recreation agencies?

A. No, check with your city or county attorney but in almost all cases this does not apply to Park and Recreation volunteers.

Q. Our current background check policy says to use LiveScan and run fingerprints. The National Background Screening Program uses Social Security numbers. Why?

A. The primary goal is to implement a consistent approach to screening among all parks, recreation, and conservation professionals. And, to ensure staff and volunteers are validated as respectable, law abiding people with nothing in their background that would pose a threat or present a risk.

There are only two court tested and approved methods for employment screening: collecting fingerprints and tracing social security numbers. While the common assumption is that fingerprinting is the fail safe method, an exhaustive study of both methods concludes that the best fit for our profession is the social security trace with added steps that would maximize effectiveness and reduce errors.

Q. Do the recommended guidelines meet the test of due diligence?

A. The guidelines have been reviewed and approved by over 700 city and county attorneys and meet the due diligent requirements of employment screening.

Q. In your research did you look at California LiveScan before deciding on using Social Security numbers?

A. Yes and the California LiveScan system came up short in our definition of “comprehensive” only revealing records associated with:

  1. Crimes relating to child abuse or elder abuse

  2. Sex Offenders within the State - Not Sex Offenders outside of the State

  3. Convictions or incarcerations only in the last 10 years as a result of committing theft, robbery, burglary, or any felony only in the State of California

And, not revealing other potential disqualifying offenses like assault, battery, domestic violence, drug possession, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct just to name a few.

Q. Can’t we get the full story behind someone’s background with fingerprinting?

A. Fingerprinting only gives you a partial story and here’s why: 

There are a number of serious misdemeanors and other disqualifying offenses that result in many police jurisdictions issuing only a citation to appear in court to address the charges. Because the offender was not jailed, no fingerprints were taken! However, utilizing a social security number trace coupled with a county courthouse search (non fingerprint) would reveal these offenses and case outcomes including charges, court dispositions, and sentencing. This information is all necessary to determine if the individual qualifies to join your staff, paid or un-paid.

Q. If we revisit our current policy and consider implementing the NCSI | SSCI National Program for background screening, what other facts should we consider?

A. The NCSI | SSCI National Background Check System:

Our price of $18.50 each to our affiliates is less than most “State Only” background checks

  • Verifies that the individual is who they claim to be

  • Identifies their current and past addresses to determine the appropriate jurisdiction where any charges against the individual would have been adjudicated.

  • Conducts a thorough County/State record search to capture all misdemeanors and felonies in the jurisdiction that the individual has the longest and most current residency

  • Conducts a National Criminal Record Search through The National Background Directory™ with over 800 million records of criminal data from all 50 states, including Guam and Puerto Rico.

  • Conducts a Sex Offender Registry search in all 50 States and the District of Columbia

  • Provides our members with an Online Data Management system to submit new requests, retrieve results and review the status of a background check in progress

  • Returns results in 48 to 72 hours

  • Provides complimentary expert consultation from policy development through implementation

  • Meets the most recent Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) Background Investigation Standard