Careful screening procedures are needed for all volunteer and employed preschool and children's leaders and teachers. When appropriate procedures are consistently followed, your church is in a position to protect children, safeguard teachers and reduce the legal liability of your church.

Assure teachers and potential teachers that their cooperation with the screening process helps your church meet moral, spiritual and legal responsibilities with loving diligence.

Getting started

The implementation of screening procedures is a large task and involves the present and future well-being and reputation of children, teachers, and the entire church. Therefore, screening procedures should include these preparatory steps:

  • Involve all ministerial staff, church leaders and appropriate committees in researching and educating themselves regarding this matter.

  • Consult your church's attorney for help in all aspects of the screening process, including the questions you ask, the forms you use and the confidential records you maintain.

  • Consult with your insurance company.

  • Build church awareness and support through presentations, printed information and discussion groups.

  • Document official church action regarding policies and procedures.

  • Encourage all ministers and staff members to undergo the screening process to set a positive example for others.

The screening process

Steps in the screening process include the use of screening forms, personal interviews, and background checks.

You will need release forms signed by all teachers permitting you to conduct reference, background, and criminal checks.

Contact all references and complete the background checks prior to the personal interview. You will need written documentation of contacts you make with references and information you discuss in the personal interview.

During the personal interview, document the person's responses regarding his Christian testimony, special interests in working with children, past teaching and volunteer experience, interest in receiving training and other related information.

All of this information is confidential and must be kept filed in a secure area.

Sample forms

Please use the links in the right-hand column to download sample files.

Your screening form should meet the needs of your church. These forms are provided soley for illustrative purposes. State and local laws may vary. It is recommended that each church solicit the advice of an independent and qualified attorney.