Below are frequently asked background check questions and answers that a District Staff and local Board of Directors should be aware of.
What do we, as a league, have to do to comply so that we can be chartered for the next season?
The local league has been required to have all board members, managers, coaches, and other volunteers or hired workers who provide regular service to the league and/or who have repetitive access to or contact with players or teams fill out the official Little League® Volunteer Application. Additionally the league has been and is required to conduct a background check on each of these individuals. Little League Regulation I (c) 9 has been revised to state that all leagues in the United States, are required to conduct background checks that utilize JDP Background Screening, or another provider that is comparable to JDP in accessing background check records for sex offender registry data and criminal records. For those leagues that have satisfied this regulation in past seasons by utilizing JDP, there are not additional expectations, since the JDP background check currently meets that standard.
Each local league must also be aware of its state laws, which may require other separate and additional background check processes be completed before individuals would be permitted to assume local league volunteer responsibilities. Several states also require (by law) additional background procedures be completed above those required by Little League International. At present, Alabama, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania have such background laws in place. Albeit mandatory, these laws DO NOT by themselves meet the Little League regulation. Little League Baseball and Softball will require each league to sign an agreement on the charter application that they will comply with Regulation I (b) and I(c) 8 & 9. The leagues are also required to sign a statement on the tournament enrollment form verifying that the process under the regulation has been completed and implemented. Failure to sign the agreement on the charter application will result in the league not being chartered and failure to fulfill the requirement of the regulations will result in the league’s status being referred to the Charter/Tournament committee for action to revoke the league’s charter and all privileges.
Please Remember: Additional background checks may be required to be completed to comply with State and/or local laws/statutes.
What type of background check is required by the regulations?
The local league must annually conduct a nationwide search that contains the applicable government sex offender registry data and a national criminal background check. Information on running a more thorough background check through JDP that contains not only crimes that appear on a sex offender registry, but other crimes of a sexual and nonsexual nature can be obtained at Littleleague.org/ChildProtection. The first 125 checks through JDP are paid for by Little League International and are free to each chartered Little League. If additional checks are necessary, they will cost the league a minimal amount per background check conducted.
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 or should be suspended from his/her current position pending the outcome of the changes.
What type of offenses are we screening for when we conduct a background check?
Local leagues are conducting a search of the nationwide sex offender registry for anyone who has committed sexual offenses involving minors. An individual who has been convicted or plead guilty to charges involving or against a minor, no matter when the offense occurred, must not be permitted to work or volunteer. If a potential volunteer appears on the National Sex Offender Registry, the league must contact the Security Manager at Little League International prior to appointing the volunteer to participate in any capacity in the league. Call 1-570-326-1921; and ask to speak with the Security Manager.
Who in the local league should be responsible to process the background check information?
Little League Baseball and Softball recommends the board of directors appoint the local league president and two other individuals to handle the background checks. These individuals may be from the board or individuals outside the board. For instance, the board of directors may appoint individuals who have significant professional background in this area, such as law enforcement officers or individuals with a legal background. Remember to never let those assigned for this process to also do the background checks on themselves.
What will result in termination of a volunteer under these regulations?
Any background check that reveals a conviction of any crime involving or against a minor must result in immediate termination from the league. Additionally, volunteers who refuse to submit a fully completed Little League Volunteer Application, along with a government issued photo ID, must be immediately terminated or eliminated from consideration for any position. This includes individuals with many years of service to your league.
What resources are available through Little League® Baseball and Softball to assist this process?
The current Little League official Volunteer application is online. Information on running a more thorough background check through JDP that contains not only crimes that appear on a sex offender registry, but other crimes of a sexual and nonsexual nature can be found on the Little League website at LittleLeague.org/ChildProtectionProgram. The first 125 checks conducted through JDP are paid for by Little League International and are free to each chartered Little League. If additional checks are needed, they will cost the league only $1.00 per background conducted.
Where should these records be maintained and for how long?
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 2 years after the volunteer is no longer in the league. 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 law. Leagues should also maintain records in the case that 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 club house or similar facility.
Does this initiative also apply to those individuals that assist the manager and coaches at practices or games?
Yes. Any individual who provides regular service to the league and/or who 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, provide a copy of a government issued photo ID, and go through the background check process.
When should local leagues begin to conduct background checks on volunteers and hired workers?
In accordance with Little League Regulation I(c) (8 & 9), local leagues must conduct background checks on all volunteers and hired workers prior to the applicant assuming his or her duties for the season. Background checks must be completed on all individuals who are required to complete the official “Little League Volunteer Application” and who provide a regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players and teams. This includes, but is not limited to, managers, coaches, Board of Director members and other persons or hired workers.
Our league is required by the property owner (city, town, municipality, county, etc.) where we play our games and practices to conduct background checks approved by them on all of our volunteers and/or hired workers before we can use their fields. Are these checks acceptable and do they meet Little League’s minimum requirements of Regulation I(c) 8 and 9?
No. Most checks required by these entities are local or state only checks which do not meet the Little League requirements. Also, the local league is responsible for conducting and reviewing the background check data and making their own personnel decisions per the regulations. Although the property owner has the right to determine who uses their facility, any decision they make as a property owner may or may not meet the Little League Regulations. Little League regulations require the league to annually conduct a nationwide search that contains the applicable government sex offender registry data to be completed on all Board Members, managers, coaches and other volunteers or hired workers who provide regular service to the league and/or who have repetitive access to players or teams.
Should our league wait until the entire screening process has been completed to submit our charter application and insurance enrollment form?
No. The appropriate league officers must sign the statement on the form agreeing to adhere to the regulations requiring the use of the volunteer application and background screening process as outlined in Regulations I(b) and I(c) 8 & 9. Once this section is completed the balance of the charter application can be completed and submitted to Little League Baseball and Softball.