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Criminal Background Checks

Criminal Background Checks. Just a formality, right?. “They’ll always be clean!”. “I know the members of my Rotary Club.” “We’ve lived next door to them for 15 years.” “We go to the same church.” “Our kids played together all the time.” “They’re friends of our District Governor.”

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Criminal Background Checks

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  1. Criminal Background Checks Just a formality, right? USA-Canada Youth Exchange Conference

  2. “They’ll always be clean!” • “I know the members of my Rotary Club.” • “We’ve lived next door to them for 15 years.” • “We go to the same church.” • “Our kids played together all the time.” • “They’re friends of our District Governor.” • “Why would anyone with a questionable background offer to host anyway?”

  3. Processing is Routine • Then one day … • BINGO! • Multiple records from another state • Time served in prison • Convictions for felony child abuse in the 1990’s • A series of incidents locally as well • Off-the-record comments from local authorities that this is “not a good person”

  4. Complications • Could be worse • Second host family – early application • Host father is not a Rotarian • Could be better • Host mother IS a Rotarian (President-Elect) • Club is hosting for the first time

  5. An Easy Decision? • What about the process? • Who gets notified? • Prospective Host Family? • Current Host Family? • Club YEO and/or President? • DG / ADG / PDG / DGE / DogGoneEveryone? • Rotary International? • Inbound student? • Rotary International’s response: • “The policy is silent on how to do this -- I would suggest you consult with a local attorney and set up guidelines.”

  6. What we did … • Letter to prospective host family The Rotary District 6970 Youth Exchange Program appreciates your family’s interest in hosting a Rotary exchange student. As part of the screening process required by Rotary and by the US Department of Homeland Security, we request an Investigative Consumer Report, including a criminal background check, on all host family applicants. The Investigative Consumer Report was used only in accordance with your request to host a student, and it was prepared for us by a consumer reporting agency. Based on the information in the reports we have obtained, a preliminary decision has been made to refuse your request to host. If you wish to dispute this decision, or if you believe the information may be incorrect, please send your response to the above address. If we do not hear from you within ten days of the date of this letter, our preliminary decision will become final, and we will notify the Rotary Club of that decision, without providing them with any specifics. From this point forward, we would ask that you voluntarily avoid any unsupervised contact with any Rotary exchange student. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

  7. What happened next … • Wife submitted letter of resignation • Club members expressed appreciation of YEP’s protection of students • No response from host family • E-mail went to club, officially explaining our decision

  8. Notification by e-mail • Sent to club president & YEO, copy to DG All potential host families and other volunteers who desire to become involved with our Rotary Youth Exchange program must submit application forms, which authorize us to conduct background checks on the individuals. This is part of our standard operating procedure, and is mandated by both Rotary International and the US Department of Homeland Security. Recently, we received a Host Family Application from Mr. and Mrs. XXXX, seeking to host current inbound student YYYY later this year. The background check that we conducted on Mr. XXXX revealed some information that disqualifies him from hosting or any other involvement with Rotary exchange students. We notified him of our findings ten days ago, and invited him to question the results if he desired. In that we have not heard from him, we are now notifying your club, so that you can ensure that Mr. XXXX has no contact with YYYY or any other current or future Rotary exchange student. Please acknowledge receipt of this e-mail, so that we know you have been properly notified. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in helping to keep our exchange students safe and making this the best Youth Exchange program in the world.

  9. Unanswered Questions • What if prospective host family has already become close with inbound? • Should future inbounds in this club be warned about this individual? • What about others nearby that may be on the Sex Offender List or have criminal backgrounds? • Did we really prevent a bad situation?

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