National Conference on Volunteering and Service
National Service Criminal History Checks
Advanced 201 - June 2012
Douglas Godesky, Senior Grants Officer
Kinza Ghaznavi, Grants Management Specialist
Scenario – Table of Contents
1. Incurred Costs
2. Ineligible to Serve
3. Initiating Checks
5. Effective Dates
6. Break in Service – AmeriCorps
7. Break in Service – Staff
8. Staff Check
9. NSOPR Documentation
10. Partner Clearance Letters
11. Vendor Selection
Scenario 1- INCURRING COSTS
True or False :
National service criminal history check costs incurred prior to
the award of a new grant from CNCS can never be charged to
False. With advance written permission, any allowable cost
may be permitted as a pre-award cost, including criminal
history check costs.
Scenario 2 – Eligibility
When asked about past convictions during the application process the
candidate did not disclose any. A National Service Criminal History
Check returned a DUI result. Is this applicant eligible to serve?
Answer: No because anyone who makes a false statement in
connection with a program’s inquiry concerning the individual’s
criminal history is ineligible to serve. Programs should develop
criminal history check policies that are fair to the individual, protect
the populations they serve, and guard their organizations against
Who else is ineligible to serve?
• Anyone who refuses to undergo the Check may not serve.
• Anyone listed, or required to be listed, on a sex offender registry is
ineligible to serve.
• Anyone convicted of murder as defined and described in 18 U.S.C.
§ 1111 is ineligible to serve.
Scenario 3 - INITIATING CHECKS
A program conducted NSOPR checks on all its applicants prior
to their big training and orientation in July. On the first day of
orientation they have applicants give written consent to
conduct the checks, and fingerprint all the applicants for their
FBI and State checks. Is the program in compliance?
Answer: Yes. The initiation of checks must be documented no
later than start of service/work (which includes training and
orientation if you are counting those hours). The program
should develop policies and procedures that ensure
documentation of the initiation is being consistently maintained
for each individual.
Scenario 4 - ACCOMPANIMENT
Now that the program has initiated checks they are waiting on
the FBI and State results. For those individuals who do not
have access to vulnerable populations, service has begun
immediately. For all others, they have been performing
supervision until they have the results. Is the program in
Answer: No. Accompaniment is a higher standard than mere
supervision. Accompaniment can be conducted by anyone cleared to
have access to vulnerable populations, including guardians of the
vulnerable individual, non CNCS funded staff who have access based
on the nature of their profession – e.g. nurses, teachers. Until the final
rule is in effect, accompaniment may cease when either the FBI OR
State checks have cleared.
Scenario 5 – Effective Dates
A county government agency has 5 employees working at the
agency’s headquarters office. The agency also employs 5 field
staff, 3 of whom are assigned to the FGP program, while 2 are
assigned to the SCP program. Everyone has worked for the
organization since 2006. How many of these 10 covered
individuals had to undergo two-part checks, and how many
must undergo heightened three-part checks after the law
changed effective April 11, 2011?
Answer: None. two- or three-part checks are not required, but
everyone needed an NSOPR check within 90 days of 11/23/07.
This is because all of these employees were on-board when the
2007 regulations went into effect.
Scenario 6 - BREAK IN SERVICE
Twenty-five AmeriCorps members want to re-enroll for a second
term. What controls the determination of whether or not the
25 second term members will or will not need a new Check?
Answer: The Member Service Agreement (MSA) is the
controlling document. The number of days elapsed from the
end date of a member’s first MSA to the start date of the same
member’s subsequent MSA determines whether or not there
has been a break in service. Breaks over 30 days require a new
Scenario 7 - BREAK IN SERVICE (STAFF)
A non-profit screens all new hire employees using the same
standards that CNCS requires for a national service criminal
history check. In 2012, an employee of that non-profit since
2005, who has been assigned to HUD-funded housing project
duties was selected for an internal vacancy to work under the
organization’s Senior Corps Senior Companion program. Does
the employee need to undergo a new Check?
Answer: A new check is required. The employee was not a
covered individual in 2005 through 2012, therefore his/her
check is considered pre-existing, it pre-dates the application to
work or serve in a national service program.
Scenario 8 – STAFF CHECK
An office staff person becomes ill, exhausts his paid leave, and goes on
unpaid leave under the organization’s leave policies. After six months
he returns to work in the office. What types of new Check components
must this individual undergo?
Answer: Office employee: none since he had no break in service or
work, remaining employed until he returned to work supporting the
same two programs.
A field staff person becomes ill, has enough paid leave to stay out a
year with pay, returns to work but is assigned to work in the FGP
program when previously he had been working in the SCP
program. What types of new Check components must this individual
Answer: Field employee: Three-part Check due to a change in
program even though the individual remained employed by the same
Scenario 9 - NSOPR DOCUMENTATION
A national service program grantee prints and then scans the
NSOPR checks. The paper screen prints were printed without
any dates on them and notes were not written on the paper
regarding clearing the name matches that showed up against
the photo ID of the applicants. The paper records were
destroyed and the program now only has the PDF files. Is the
program in compliance?
Answer: No. To be in compliance the program needs to have a
dated result of the NSOPR. If there are hits, then the results
should be documented on the printout in a manner indicating
that the hits were examined and cleared.
Scenario 10 - PARTNER CLEARANCE
A program receives a Check clearance letter from its partner, a state-
licensed nursing home. The clearance letter is coded green for a
cleared check and red for a failed check. The partner obtains its
criminal history information as rap sheets from the State Police, and in
that State, the State Police are the designated repository of criminal
history information. Does this procedure meet the Corporation’s
standards for a compliant Check record?
Answer: Maybe. If the nursing home permits the program and
Corporation access to the rap sheet records, then the check is
compliant (for the State check component). If the nursing home does
not permit access to the rap sheets, then an ASP is required to use this
procedure since the nursing home is not a State criminal history check
repository and its clearance letter is not an official “result.” To use the
procedure where the result comes from a middleman who interprets
the check data, the grantee must obtain approval for an ASP.
Scenario 11 - VENDOR SELECTION
A program wants to use a vendor that describes its checks as better
than using state repositories because it uses City and County level court
records updated daily whereas state repositories are often updated less
often. The vendor also ensures that it is in compliance with State and
Federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act because it limits
record disclosure to no more than 7 years. The vendor assures clients
that it will send someone to check all court records for every county in
a state where the candidate has lived, advising that these direct
examinations of records are far superior to relying on statewide
databases. Should the program engage the vendor to perform its
Answer: The program should submit an ASP request describing how the vendor
checks are substantially equivalent to the requirements of CNCS. In this case ,
the vendor is using an alternate source which must be analyzed by programs
when submitting an ASP. CNCS requires that checks include all years of data
present as far back as the repositories so the vendor check as presented would
be rejected . You do not need an ASP to use a vendor obtaining and retaining
results from CNCS’ designated sources.
Tools and Resources
– FAQs and Alerts
– Instructions on how to request an ASP
– Fact Sheets, e.g., FBI checks
ASP submission and status questions:
– Kim Hammonds,
Office of Grants Management,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or 202.606.6968
Discussion and Questions