Background Check Policy

How Partners in Learning Evaluates Criminal Background Checks for AmeriCorps Members

  1. Prior to extending an offer to serve as an AmeriCorps member, each potential applicant (hereinafter, "applicant"), will be advised that any offer is contingent upon the three part background check. All AmeriCorps Program (hereinafter, "Program") staff are also subject to a three park background check. The Program will complete all checks for each applicant and/or staff based off their Photo ID. If the applicant and/or staff is found suitable for the Program, based on the Program's review of the applicant and/or staff, the applicant and staff must adhere to the following checks: National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). All staff, including new staff hired or added to the grant during the grant year, must complete the checks prior to documenting any time (in-kind or staff time) to the current grant.
  2. Partners in Learning will also conduct a check to determine if the applicant is listed on the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) during the review of the application. If a state is not reporting when we conduct the initial check, the Program will conduct a subsequent check to assure all states are reporting.
  3. The applicant will provide written authorization (considered as initiation by the Program) allowing the Program to conduct a criminal history though the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Per Mar Security Services (for out of state residents) and a FBI fingerprint Criminal History Record Check.
    1. If the applicant is a resident of a different state at the time of service to the Program and is not a full-time college student residing in Iowa, they will also need to provide necessary authorization to allow the Program to conduct a criminal background check through the state in which the applicant resided at the time of service, as permitted by that state.
  4. Partners in Learning's authorized agent (the Program Director, or his/her designee), will carefully review any records received from NSOPW, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and FBI records check, and/or any appropriate state, to ensure that the record relates to the applicant. If the authorized agent is able to determine that the record does not relate to the applicant, the record shall in no way prevent the applicant from being offered a position with the Program. The Program will clearly document how the record does not relate to the applicant.
  5. If the Program reasonably believes the criminal and/or NSOPW record belongs to the applicant and is/are accurate, it will make a determination as to whether the applicant is nevertheless suitable for the Program. Unless otherwise provided by law, the Program will consider the following, and may request supplemental information from the applicant, in writing, to aid in the determination process:
  6. Relevance of the crime to the position sought;
    1. The nature of the work to be performed;
    2. Time elapsed following the conviction;
    3. Age of the applicant at the time of the offense;
    4. Seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;
    5. The number of offenses;
    6. Whether the applicant has pending charges;
    7. Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation or lack thereof;
    8. Any other relevant information, including information submitted by the candidate, or requested by the Program.
  7. The Program will use the Criminal Charges Explanation Form and the Criminal Charges Consideration Form to request supplemental information from the applicant and determine whether the applicant is suitable for the Program.
  8. If the Program is inclined to make an adverse decision based on the results of any part of the criminal background and/or NSOPW check and after completing the determination process described in #7 and #8 above, the Program will mail the applicant a copy of the criminal record, a copy of this process, and will advise the applicant of the part(s) of the record that make the individual unsuitable for the position. The mailing will also advise the applicant that they have the right to dispute the accuracyand/or relevancy of the record, in writing, within 5 business days of receiving the notice. The Program will deem that the applicant received this information described herein within three (3) business days of the mailing.
  9. If the Program receives no additional information from the applicant within the above described time frame, the program will determine that the applicant has abandoned his/her application.
  10. If the Program receives additional information from the applicant, the Program will carefully review the information, consistent with the provision of #7 and #8 above, and will promptly notify the applicant of the Program's decision. This decision shall be final.
  11. Consistent with the requirements of the Corporation for National and Community Service, under no circumstance will an applicant who appears on the National Sex Offender Public Website be offered a position with this Program.
  12. The Program will, to the extent permitted by state and local law, maintain documentation for Members and applicants covered by this provision in the Member's file, and/or other appropriate file.
  13. Members who serve consecutive terms with the same grantee with a break in service of less than 120 days do not require additional background checks for an additional term of service, as long as the original check is a compliant check for the covered position in which the individual will be serving following the break in service.
Reviewed & approved: 6/15/2020 HMS