Youth Athletics Conviction Screening and Credentialing Policy
It is the intent of this policy to establish certain guidelines wherein the County of Roanoke Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (hereinafter referred to as “the Department”) and its affiliated recreation clubs can seek to protect the children of Roanoke County by conducting conviction checks on volunteers who will be coaching in sanctioned athletic programs to ensure individuals supervising youth sport participants meet the recommended criteria established by the National Recreation and Parks Administration for youth sport volunteers.
All recreation club sponsored youth coaches must undergo a criminal history conviction screening annually to verify their eligibility to coach in a program sponsored by the Department. The Department will provide three (3) screenings per sanctioned youth sport team (e.g. head coach and two assistants) based on the agreed to funding formula with Recreation Clubs. Recreation Clubs may choose to screen additional team volunteers however the cost associated for the screening will be the responsibility of the Recreation Club.
Any person who has been convicted of or has a pending charge pertaining to any of the disqualifying offenses listed in this policy will be immediately disqualified from coaching (either head or assistant) in any sanctioned athletic program approved by the department. A coach who willfully fails to comply with this background screening shall be automatically disqualified.
Each individual who has been deemed eligible to coach will be provided a photo credential they must wear at all team activities including games and practices. Only coaches who display their photo credential, players and authorized game personnel will be permitted on the field, bench, side line or in the dugout during a game or practice. Roanoke County staff and recreation club officers will routinely check for compliance with this rule. Unauthorized or non-credential carrying individuals found on the field, bench, sideline or in the dugout will be removed, regardless if they have successfully completed the screening program or not.
Recreation clubs will collect the necessary information on prospective coaches and submit to the Department’s Athletic Staff at least seven days prior to their intended first outing. This will give the Department time to compile the requests and for a third party to conduct the conviction checks.
After the conviction checks are performed, the third party contractor will notify the Athletics Division of the pass or fail result for the applicant. The Roanoke County Department of Human Resources will receive a full copy of the criminal history of failed applicants to double check against the policy. All information pertaining to the results of a failed background check will remain with the County of Roanoke’s Human Resources, subject to the applicable laws requiring disclosure and shall be kept in a secure location for a period as required by applicable law or until the person is no longer a volunteer coach, whichever is later.
The Athletics Division will notify the Recreation Club of the pass/fail results of the conviction screening for their coaches. When an applicant fails, the Athletics Division shall notify the applicant by certified mail that he or she is disqualified and notify the coach’s recreation club that the coach is disqualified. If a Coach requests the results of the coach’s conviction check, the Department of Human Resources shall send a copy of the results to the Coach.
To help ensure confidentiality, league presidents, other recreation club personnel and the Department shall not be notified of a prospective coach’s criminal history only the pass or fail result.
Roanoke County staff will routinely check for compliance with the screening policy by verifying coaches are properly wearing their coaching credentials. Unauthorized and non-credential carrying individuals found on the field, bench, sideline or in the dugout will be removed, regardless if they have successfully completed the screening program.
Recreation Clubs play just as important a role in the screening program as does the Department. It is important for the integrity of the screening program that all recreation club presidents and personnel verify that only those persons who are successfully screened and credentialed by the Department be allowed to coach.
Definition of Conviction
For the purposes of the background screening process, any person will be considered “convicted” of a crime if that person (1) has been convicted of, (2) has a charge pending against him or her in which it is alleged that he or she has committed any of the following crimes, or (3) has a record of a conviction of an equivalent offense in another state.
If the coach has a “conviction” as defined above, of a charge that matches the disqualification criteria listed below, they will be disqualified from volunteering in any capacity an athletic team sanctioned by the Department.
Disqualification Criteria as recommended by the National Recreation and Parks Association
All Felony Sex Offenses
Examples include child molestation, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, forcible sodomy, etc.
All Felony Violence Offenses
Examples include murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, kidnapping, robbery, etc.
All Felony Offenses other than Violence or Sex within the past ten (10) years of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include drug offenses, theft, embezzlement, fraud, child endangerment, etc.
All Misdemeanor Sex Offenses
Examples include prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure, etc.
All Misdemeanor Violence offenses within seven the past (7) years of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include simple assault, battery, domestic violence, hit and run, etc.
All Misdemeanor Drug offenses within the past five (5) years or multiple offenses within ten (10) years of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include simple drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, etc.
Multiple Alcohol offenses within the past five (5) of the date of application to be a coach for volunteer
Examples include driving under the influence, drunk and disorderly, public intoxication, etc.
Any other Misdemeanor offense within the past five (5) years of the date of application to be a coach or youth volunteer that would be considered a potential danger to children or is directly related to the functions of that coach
Examples include contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor, failure to secure medical attention for a child etc.
WHY THESE CRIMES?
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) reviewed the resources of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners and sought the counsel of recognized background screening experts to develop a set of Recommended Guidelines for Volunteer Background Screening in park and recreation settings.
Individuals disqualified from coaching based on the results of their conviction check may appeal their disqualification in accordance with the Department’s published appeal guidelines.
Process Summary for Screening and Credentialing of Volunteer Coaches
1. The intended coach registers as a volunteer on the Recreation Clubs webpage.
2. The Recreation Club provides the Department with a list of teams including selected coaches prior to the start of the practice season.
3. The Department downloads the coach’s volunteer application and sends forms to third party contractor to perform conviction checks.
4. Third party contactor sends a pass/fail result to the Department.
5. The Department notifies Recreation Clubs of the results.
6. The Department notifies any disqualified coach via certified mail their disqualification.
7. Approved coaches secure their coaching credential from the Department.