Background checks - information and forms for SecureSearch Faith
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut has contracted with a company called SecureSearch Faith to conduct background checks. Every parish should open an account (free) with SecureSearch Faith as soon as possible. Current background checks conducted through the previous vendor, Sterling, don’t need to be repeated; all new public records checks should be conducted through SecureSearch Faith. Note that this applies to any new staff or volunteers for summer camp or Vacation Bible School who have not already had their public records background check.
Requirements for Background Checks
According to diocesan policy, as stated in the Healthy Church Practices manual, page 15: “Screening and Selection for Ministry with Children and Youth,”
“…Parishes are required to conduct public records checks on ALL existing and future employees and all existing and future volunteers who regularly work with children or youth. Parishes shall use a company designated by the diocese to conduct public records checks and shall be conducting such checks by 1/31/07.” (The policy goes on to state that for employees and volunteers who regularly work with children or youth, “parishes are required to conduct the following components of a background check in addition to the public records check: a. a written application; b. an interview; and c. reference checks.”)
How to conduct a background check with SecureSearch Faith
- Apply for a parish account with SecureSearch Faith. Call to set one up: (toll-free) 866-378-8389, ext. 2276. Once you are approved, you will be sent a user name and password to logon to the SecureSearch Faith website. Then you can begin processing background checks.
- Ask each person to fill out and sign a consent form before you initiate a background check.
- Once you have the signed form in hand, log on to the SecureSearch Faith website to process the background check. Go to: http://www.securesearchfaith.com/ and enter the user name and password that you received after you sent in your application service agreement. Once on the website, click the button on the top right corner marked “client login” to begin. Please note: All signed consent forms contain personal and private information and should be kept in a secure locked file.
Costs and Services
The cost of the basic background check is $14. This includes a multi-state criminal search; national sex offender search, Social Security Number validation, Social Security Number death index search, name and address history search for the past 30 years, and an alias search. It also includes a county courthouse review of criminal records for the past seven years, and a “red-flag review” by SecureSearch Faith personnel. SecureSearch Faith will add $8 per county if a person has lived outside of CT within the last 7 years or if a red flag has come up. There may be additional fees for some county searches.
You can request credit reports and motor vehicle reports at additional cost. Please contact the customer service department at SecureSearch Faith and they can walk you through the process for those. Credit reports are recommended for any applicant that will have a financial component in their position. Motor vehicle reports are recommended for any applicant who will be driving a parish-owned vehicle or transporting parishioners. In all other cases the standard consent form is sufficient.
Note for Clergy
The Office of the Canon for Mission Integrity and Training currently conducts and pays for the public records background checks for all clergy new to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut except those seeking licensing only. Background checks for clergy using Oxford Documents is separate, and not related to the SecureSearch Faith service. Clergy seeking a license to do supply work are asked to first pay the initial fee of $155 to cover the basic cost of both background checks.
SecureSearch Faith is a very user-friendly company and they respond quickly to questions and concerns. Please feel free to contact them at any point for help at 866-378-8389 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The contact information is also listed on the first page of the consent form instructions. The contact at The Commons for questions is the Amber Page Gehr, Administrator for Transitions & Clergy Support, 203-639-3501 ext. 131.