How do you control risk, protect your clients and your agency?
A comprehensive risk management program involving careful screening of staff and volunteers is an important step in the right direction. One tool that can be used in this process is a criminal background history check. Screening out inappropriate individuals may help protect clients from harm and reduce the risk of lawsuits filed against agencies by demonstrating “due diligence.”
Since 1995, Texas Volunteer Centers have permission to access all records maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The background checks can be performed for approved, nonprofit client agencies that “involve the care of or access to: a child, an elderly person, a person who is mentally incompetent, mentally retarded, physically disabled, ill or incapacitated.” Checks may also be done on volunteers or staff who will perform services in a residence or have access to money or confidential information.
What are the main advantages in using VOLUNTEER HOUSTON for criminal background screening?
The depth of information available to an agency, and the speed with which the information is received.
Why is VOLUNTEER HOUSTON allowed access to TDPS records?
In 1995, Texas SB 42 authorized volunteer centers* to have Level One access to TDPS records. SB 42 authorizes a check of Texas records only.
How long has VOLUNTEER HOUSTON conducted background checks?
What is the difference between creating an account on the DPS Web site and using VOLUNTEER HOUSTON to obtain criminal background information?
The State of Texas is only allowed to sell conviction and deferred adjudication information. Those certified to use CBHS service have access to “anything and everything” DPS has on file.
Who can be screened through VOLUNTEER HOUSTON?
Volunteers or staff of a nonprofit who will be in contact with vulnerable populations, perform any service in a residence, coordinate or refer volunteers, handle money and/or confidential information, or execute administrative responsibilities.
What types of information are available through the CBHS Program?
Arrests, convictions, deferred adjudications, juvenile records, and Texas Sex Registry.
What does the system check?
The Texas Sex Offender Registry, the Computerized Criminal History File and the Name Based File.
Are there any fees?
There is a one-time fee of $85.00, which covers CBHS training, a handbook, program software and handling. Any future training of staff responsible for requesting screening is at no cost to the agency.
How much do you charge per screen?
$6.00 per screen.
Can I pick up the results or do they have to be mailed?
Agency personnel trained in CBHS procedures can pick up the results from the offices of VOLUNTEER HOUSTON. There is a charge to cover the cost of certified mailing if an agency wishes to have the results sent by USPS.
Does TDPS require a confidentiality agreement for agency personnel who view CBHS material?
Yes. Each individual who views confidential material received from TDPS must sign two confidentiality agreements: an entity agreement and a user acknowledgement agreement.
How are requests submitted to the VOLUNTEER HOUSTON?
Using a simple software program, the agency sends screening requests to VOLUNTEER HOUSTON where the information is uploaded via secure Web site.
How long does it take to get the results?
Once uploaded, normally less than five minutes.
What if the applicant disputes the findings? What recourse does he/she have?
DPS uses the “Soundex” method for background screening.If the applicant disputes the findings, there is a procedure available, which uses fingersprints to make a positive identification. The cost to the applicant for the fingerprinting service is $24.95. There is no cost to the agency.
How does an agency become certified to participate in the CBHS Program?
The CBHS outreach packet contains a checklist, which each agency must complete to become certified to use the service. Once all requirements are met, it takes approximately 5 workdays to receive approval from TDPS.
How long does CBHS training take?
Approximately 90 minutes.