Since 2003, Little League® Baseball and Softball has required all board members, managers, coaches, other volunteers, and hired workers who provide regular service to the league, or who have repetitive access to, or contact with players, or teams to fill out the Little League Official Volunteer Application. Also available to use is the JDP Quickapp which is stored on the JDP database. Since 2007, Little League has required all leagues to conduct a nationwide search that contains the applicable government sex offender registry data on any volunteer, or hired worker who has repetitive access to, or contact with players and teams in a league. In 2017, the regulation has been enhanced to mandate that all leagues also conduct a national criminal check. Below are some questions commonly received from leagues with respect to background checks:
Who needs to have a background check completed?
All managers, coaches, board members, umpires, and any other volunteers or hired workers with regular, or repetitive access to players, or teams. All background checks must be completed prior to the individual assuming his or her duties for the current season.
Do individuals that assist the manager and coaches at practices need to have a background check completed?
Yes. Any individual who provides regular service to the league and/or has repetitive access to, or contact with players or teams, must fill out the Volunteer Application, or use the JDP Quickapp which is stored on the JDP database. Leagues must still verify the volunteer’s application with a government-issued photo ID.
What type of background check is required?
A nationwide check that includes applicable sex offender registry and criminal data is required. The free name search at www.nsopw.gov meets this requirement. Little League also provides each league 125 background checks annually through JDP Background Screening at no cost to the league and additional checks for a nominal fee. Leagues can access or register for their 125 free checks here. The JPD Background Screening satisfies both the national sex offender registry and national criminal history checks.
What type of offense prohibits an individual from volunteering in a Little League® program?
Any conviction, guilty plea, no contest plea, or admission of a crime against, or involving a minor may not work, or volunteer in a Little League® program in any capacity. A local league may use its discretion for other offenses.
Who should process the background check information?
Little League® Baseball and Softball recommends the Board of Directors appoint the local League President, and two other Board members (i.e. Vice President and Safety Officer) to handle the background checks.
What if an individual has previously had a background check?
Each league must conduct its own background check on the appropriate individuals annually.
Do we also have to complete background checks mandated by our state?
Yes. Leagues must comply with all state background check laws. As of June 1, 2015 states with additional background check laws either enacted or pending are: Alabama, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
What if offenses involving, or against minors, are pending prior to, or after, appointment to a position in the local league?
We suggest the individual not be appointed should be suspended from his/her current position pending the outcome of the charges.
Who will be made aware of the information found on the background check?
The local League President shall only share personal information contained in the volunteer application, background check or other information obtained through the screening process with other members of the Board of Directors in order to make personnel decisions. If the information obtained through the background check is public record and causes an individual to not be appointed or to be terminated, Little League® Baseball and Softball recommends this information be shared with the parents/guardians of the children who have had contact with the individual previously.
Where should these records be maintained and for how long?
If using a paper Little Leaguer Volunteer Application, the local League President shall retain each volunteer application, background check information, and any other documents obtained on file, and maintain the record of a volunteer for at least two (2) years after the volunteer is no longer in the league. If using the JDP Quickapp the information is stored on the JDP database. When it comes time to dispose of these records, they should be destroyed as they contain sensitive information. All actions concerning these records must comply with any applicable laws. Leagues should also maintain records in case the league has taken action or made a decision based upon the information contained in the records. The records should be maintained in a locked and secure area such as the League President’s home, and not a clubhouse or similar facility.
As a league official, how do I explain the need for these requirements?
These requirements were implemented in 2002 by Little League® International and your local league to:
- Protect our children and maintain Little League® as a hostile environment for those who would seek them harm.
- Protect individuals and leagues from possible loss of personal or league assets because of litigation.
- Take advantage of current technology and laws that have made background check information accessible to your league.