Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Child and Youth Development Human Resources (CYD-HR) 2: Background Checks

To ensure the safety of program participants and determine the appropriateness of hiring prospective personnel, screening procedures for personnel and contractors include:
  1. fingerprint-based state and federal criminal history record checks;
  2. child abuse and neglect registry checks; and
  3. sex offender registry checks.


 This standard applies to anyone who will provide direct services to, or be alone with, children and youth. The program is not required to conduct background checks on licensed staff if it has verified that background checks are conducted as part of the licensing process, but it may choose to do so.  It is also important to note that this standard also applies when the program contracts with an outside company to provide certain services (e.g., transportation services). Just as with licensed staff, the program is not required to conduct background checks on the staff employed by contractors if it has verified that background checks are conducted by the contractor (e.g., if the school district that provides transportation already conducts background checks on bus drivers). In all other instances the program should establish procedures for ensuring that contracted parties, including bus drivers, are subject to the requirements of the standard.
If some personnel or contractors were working with the program before the implementation of background checks, the program is expected to conduct background checks on those parties prior to achieving accreditation. The program should also conduct periodic re-investigations of all personnel and contractors at intervals specified in its procedures, unless the program will be automatically notified by the authority that conducted the initial check if a subsequent violation occurs.
The program should also ensure that it complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations in conducting these checks. If a program is not legally permitted to implement part of this standard (e.g., it can only conduct name-based checks, not fingerprint-based checks), it should be prepared to provide documentation (e.g., copy of a law or regulation) demonstrating that this is the case. The program should also consult with legal counsel about any concerns regarding the appropriate use of background information. Background checks yield information, but the program must decide how to use the information it obtains.  Accordingly, the program should define what offenses will disqualify an applicant, but should also take care to ensure that it does not illegally discriminate in its hiring practices.
2020 Edition




A stable, qualified, trained, and supported workforce contributes effectively and efficiently to the delivery of quality programming that promotes positive child and youth education and development.
Note: As noted at the beginning of CYD-HR, the term “personnel” includes volunteers who perform the same duties as personnel and have a regular, ongoing role at the program. All other volunteers are not included in the term “personnel,” and are covered by CYD-HR 10 instead of this standard.
Most programs permanently disqualify anyone convicted of sex-related crimes, violent crimes, and crimes involving children. For other types of crimes, programs might consider factors such as the age of the person at the time of the offense, how long ago the offense occurred, the person’s attitude about the offense, and the person’s lifestyle since the offense.
The program’s practices reflect full implementation of the standard. 
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
Practice requires significant improvement.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Policy and procedures for background checks (CYD-HR 2)
  • Legislation/regulations pertaining to background checks
  • Personnel records
  • Interview:
    1. Program Administrator and/or Director