First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Sunday, August 02, 2015

Q & A for FBCHSV Safekeeping Policies & Procedures

Who must be screened in order to serve in the ministries and programs of First Baptist Church?

In short, all volunteers with preschoolers, children, and youth must be screened.  This includes all persons working in Sunday School, missions education, music education, worship care, and all special events associated with the preschool, children, and youth ministries.  Further, all employees of First Baptist Church, Huntsville, must be screened.

Questions about The Screening of Volunteers

How long do I have to be a member of First Baptist before I can apply for volunteer service?
All prospective volunteers shall have been a member of First Baptist Church, Huntsville, for at least six (6) months prior to the commencement of the volunteer service.  Exceptions to this rule may be made on an individual basis only by the minister in a specified ministry area with the approval of the Executive Pastor.

What is the process for screening volunteers?

All current workers with preschoolers, children, and youth, and those prospective applicants for these positions shall:

1.Complete an Leadership Information Form with our background screening service. If you prefer to fill out the paper version of this form, you may obtain this form in the finance office from our Safekeeping Processor. Upon completing the paper form, your data will be entered into the online  Leadership Information Form.  If you have questions, call our Safekeeping Processor in the Church Office at 256-428-9400. This application includes a statement that you must sign indicating that you have read and understand these policies and agree to follow these policies.

2.As part of the application, you will sign a consent authorization for a Criminal Background Check when completing the online Leadership Information Form.

3. As part of the application, you will sign an Alabama Department of Human Resources Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N) Central Registry Clearance form (also known as 1598 Form) when completing the online Leadership Information Form. Please print off the form and return to the Safekeeping Processor in the Church Office. All blanks on this form must be completed; if a blank does not apply, mark with N/A

All documentation must be completed and received. Once submitted, our Safekeeping Processor in the Church Office will begin processing the application with our background screening service, Protect My Ministry. 

Will I be requested to provide references? You will be asked to provide the name, email address, mailing address, telephone numbers, and the nature of your association with at least three references.  These references may not be former employers, relatives, or current church staff members. 

Reference Background Checks will be conducted on all applicants through email primarily so please include the email address of each reference. If no email address is given, telephone calls, interviews with personal references, and/or mail response using a reference contact form will be used.  Background checks will be conducted by the Safekeeping Processor in our church office. Confidentiality will be maintained.  All records will be kept under lock and key in a secure area of the church offices.

Will I be able to see the forms completed by my references? You may choose to review the information provided by your references.

What is a Criminal Records Background Check? A Criminal Background Check is a formal screening process used to determine if a prospective volunteer has had past criminal convictions. Based on where the applicant has lived, this may be a one-county criminal background check or several and may include a state criminal background check if the applicant has lived in several counties of the same state. Our check will also include a scan of the National Sex Offender Registry. 

Will all volunteers undergo a Criminal Records Background Check? Most volunteer positions will undergo a Criminal Records Background Check.  Regardless, the church reserves the right to conduct a Criminal Records Background Check at any point on any worker.  Criminal Records Background Checks are required for all volunteers who will be chaperoning for overnight activities.  This requirement relates to the high degree of risk and responsibility involved in these activities.

What is an Alabama Department of Human Resources Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N) Central Registry Clearance Form (1598 Form)? This form is used to request information from the Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N) Central Registry for volunteers or potential employees who will provide unsupervised care and supervision for children. This form must be completed in full. The original will be processed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources. 

How will I know if and when I have been approved for volunteer service? If no questionable responses are received, either from the applicant or from the related background check, the Safekeeping Processor  will notify you by email and will place your name on a list of approved workers.  The Executive Pastor will also be notified of all approved workers.  This list of approved workers will then be made available to the appropriate persons responsible for recruiting volunteer workers.

What happens if the screening process surfaces some question about my suitability for volunteer service?  Any application with adverse information or questionable background checks will be forwarded to the Executive Pastor. The Executive Pastor will then confer with the minister responsible for the activities of the volunteer applicant concerning the matters under question, known mitigating factors and approaches to pastoral care for the applicant in dealing with the issues under questions. The Executive Pastor or conferring minister will contact the applicant for conversations concerning the adverse information and/or background information. Additional pastoral and/or counseling resources will be made available to the applicant, as needed.

A committee comprised of the Executive Pastor, Minister to Students, Minister to Children, Minister to Preschool Children, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a representative of the Legal Committee shall make the final decision for approval or disapproval of such applicant. This Committee may consult with mental health or other qualified professionals as needed. The decision of the Committee shall be final.

What sort of situations would prohibit a person from serving as a volunteer with preschoolers, children, and youth at First Baptist Church?

Applicants will not be permitted to work with children or youth in any church function if:
  • Applicant has been convicted, pleaded guilty or otherwise adjudicated guilty of sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence or any offense related to child pornography.
  • Applicant has any pending charges related to sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence or offenses related to child pornography.
Applicants may not be automatically prohibited from working with children or youth, but will be subject to further screening including, but not limited to, a personal meeting with an appropriate minister of the Church before his/her application can be considered further if:
  • Applicant has been previously charged with, but acquitted of sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence or has offenses related to child pornography.
  • Applicant provides other affirmative responses or leaves responses blank on "Section B. Legal Questionnaire" on the Leadership Information Form.
  • Applicant has been indicated for child abuse or neglect by any child welfare or protection services agency.
A criminal records background check and a child abuse and neglect check will be performed every three (3) years on all volunteers. 
 

What types of situations would require additional screening before a person might be allowed to serve as a volunteer at First Baptist Church?  Applicants may not be automatically prohibited from working with children or youth, but will be subject to further screening including, but not limited to, a personal meeting with an appropriate minister of the Church before his/her application can be considered further if:

  • Applicant has been previously charged with, but acquitted of sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence or has offenses related to child pornography.
  • Applicant provides other affirmative responses or leaves responses blank on "Section B. Legal Questionnaire" on the Leadership Information Form.
  • Applicant has been indicated for child abuse or neglect by any child welfare or protection services agency.
A criminal records background check and a child abuse and neglect check will be performed every three (3) years on all volunteers. 
 

Questions about The Screening of Employees

What is the screening process for employees of First Baptist, Huntsville? Every applicant for any paid position of First Baptist Church, Huntsville shall complete an employment application and a consent form for a criminal records background check, and a child abuse and neglect check or the applicant will not be considered for employment by the church.

All information gathered from the employment application and related background checks will be held in strict confidence. Records will be kept in a secure location.
No person shall be employed before the Personnel Committee and/or the staff supervisor responsible for hiring that position has received and reviewed the applicant's completed employment application and has received the all-clear from the process for the online background check.
No one who has been convicted, pleaded guilty, or otherwise adjudicated guilty of sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence or offenses related to child pornography will be permitted to work at First Baptist Church, Huntsville, in any capacity. No one with pending charges of sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence or offenses related to child pornography will be permitted to work at the church in any capacity. Anyone who has been previously charged with but acquitted of sexual or physical abuse, sex related offenses, crimes of violence, offenses related to child pornography or who has been indicated for child abuse or neglect by any child welfare or protection services agency will be subject to further screening.