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Youth Athletics Background Screening and Credentialing Policy
It is the intent of this policy to establish certain guidelines wherein the County of Bedford Department of Parks and Recreation (hereinafter referred to as “the Department”) and its affiliated recreation associations to protect the children of Bedford County conducting conviction checks on volunteers who will be coaching in sanctioned athletic programs to ensure individuals supervising youth sport participants meet the recommended criteria established by the National Recreation and Parks Administration for youth sport volunteers.
All recreation association sponsored youth coaches must undergo a criminal history background screening bi-annually to verify their eligibility to coach in a program sponsored by the Department. The Department will provide the following complimentary screenings per sanctioned youth sport team:
- Baseball/Softball - 3 (Three)
- Basketball - 3 (Three)
- Cheer- 3 (Three)
- Football - 4 (Four)
- Soccer - 3 (Three)
Any person who has been convicted of or has a pending charge pertaining to any of the disqualifying offenses listed in this policy will be immediately disqualified from coaching (either head or assistant) in any sanctioned athletic program approved by the department. A coach who willfully fails to comply with this background screening shall be automatically disqualified.
Each individual who has been deemed eligible to coach will be provided a credential they must wear at all team activities including games and practices. Only coaches who display their credential, players and authorized game personnel will be permitted on the field, bench, sideline or in the dugout during a game or practice. Bedford County staff and recreation association supervisors will routinely check for compliance with this rule. Non credential carrying individuals found on the field, bench, sideline or in the dugout will be removed, regardless if they have successfully completed the screening program or not unless they can be verified by a List of Coaches distributed by Parks and Recreation. Coaches will be given one (1) “warning” and use of this verification list. If a coach continues to be noncompliant with the badge policy after their warning, they are subject to face noncompliance with county policy face a one (1) game suspension.
If there is no certified/background coach available, the team is ineligible to participate in their scheduled game.
Recreation associations will collect the necessary information on prospective coaches and submit to the Department’s Athletic Staff at least seven days prior to their intended first outing. This will give the Department time to compile the requests and for a third party to conduct the background checks.
After the conviction checks are performed, a pass or fail result will be forwarded to the Athletics Division. All information pertaining The Athletics Division will notify the Recreation Association of the pass/fail results of the background screening for their coaches. When an applicant fails, the Athletics Division shall notify the applicant by certified mail that he or she is disqualified and notify the coach’s recreation association that the coach is disqualified. If a Coach requests the results of the coach’s conviction check, the Athletics Division shall send a copy of the results to the Coach.
To help ensure confidentially, league presidents and other recreation association personnel shall not be notified of a prospective coach’s criminal history. The criminal history reports shall be kept in a secure location for a period as required by applicable law or, the person is no longer a volunteer coach, whichever is later.
Bedford County staff will routinely check for compliance with the screening policy by verifying coaches are properly wearing their coaching credentials. Non credential carrying individuals found on the field, bench, sideline or in the dugout will be removed, regardless if they have successfully completed the screening program.
Recreation Associations play a vital role in the screening program as does the Department. It is important for the integrity of the screening program that all recreation club presidents and personnel verify that only those persons who are successfully screened and credentialed by the Department be allowed to coach.
Definition of Conviction
For the purposes of the background screening process, any person will be considered “convicted” of a crime if a volunteer (1) has been convicted of, (2) has a charge pending against him or her in which it is alleged that he or she has committed any of the following crimes, or (3) has a record of a conviction of an equivalent offense in another state.
If the coach has a “conviction” as defined above, or a charge that matches the disqualification criteria listed below, they will be disqualified from volunteering in any capacity for an athletic team sanctioned by the Department.
Disqualification Criteria as recommended by the National Recreation and Parks Association
All Felony Sex Offenses
Examples include child molestation, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sodomy, etc.
All Felony Violence Offenses
Examples include murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, kidnapping,robbery, etc.
All Felony Offenses other than Violence or Sex within ten (10) years of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include drug offenses, theft, embezzlement, fraud, child endangerment,etc.
All Misdemeanor Sex Offenses
Examples include prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure, etc.
All Misdemeanor Violence offenses within the past seven (7) years of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include simple assault, battery, domestic violence, hit and run, etc.
All Misdemeanor Drug offenses within the past five (5) years or multiple offenses in the past ten (10) years of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include simple drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, etc.
Multiple Alcohol offenses within the past five (5) of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include driving under the influence, drunk and disorderly, public intoxication, etc.
Any other Misdemeanor offense within five years of the application to be a coach or youth volunteer that would be considered a potential danger to children or is directly related to the functions of that coach
Examples include contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor, failure to secure medical attention for a child etc.
WHY THESE CRIMES?
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) reviewed the resources of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners and sought the counsel of recognized background screening experts to develop a set of Recommended Guidelines for Volunteer Background Screening in park and recreation settings.
If a Coach’s background check includes a charge set forth on the list of dis qualifiers below, the Parks and Recreation Department shall immediately disqualify a person from volunteering as a coach. There shall be no appeal of a decision to disqualify a Coach, if the Coach’s relevant criminal history is accurate; all decisions are final.
If a Coach wishes to dispute the content of the profile report, the Coach shall contact the third party responsible for conducting the background check by calling the telephone number listed on the report. The Coach is responsible for providing any or all documentation to support his or her claim.
- The intended coach registers as a volunteer with the proper Recreation Personnel
- The Recreation Association provides the Department with a list of teams including selected coaches prior to the start of the practice season.
- The Department downloads the coach’s volunteer application and sends forms to third party contractor to perform conviction checks.
- Third party contractor sends a pass/fail result to the Department.
- The Department notifies Recreation Association of the results.
- The Department notifies any disqualified coach via certified mail of their disqualification.
- Approved coaches secure their coaching credential from the Department.