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New Background Check Forms

Since I don’t see much discussion about it elsewhere. I thought I’d as here to see how people felt about the new forms that we are being asked to sign for background checks.

This seems like quite an invasion of privacy compared to how they had been handled previously. I’d encourage anyone to do a little searching to see how far reaching an Investigative Consumer Report is and what it includes. I think you might be surprised, I was.

Yesterday we received an email on Scoutingwire that really downplayed this rechecking of our criminal reports. I also felt that it was a bit deceptive and not completely truthful. Yes this report will check for any new criminal activity, but it also includes Credit reports, history, and debt. It also includes work history and salary history. They are free to interview family, friends, co-workers, etc. It also gives them the freedom to search your internet profile and activity. Who at the BSA decides what is appropriate, what internet groups we belong to or what we say on any of our social media accounts.

Once they have these reports where are they stored, who has access to them, who has the ability to request them. What process is in place to verify the information is handled correctly. While I have nothing to hide it feels quite invasive without just cause.

At this point I don’t believe that I will sign this form and while I only have a few years left on my last child I would hate for all my years of service to end early on a sour note.

So am I overreacting to this request?

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Brooks,

I suggest you speak with your council professionals if you have concerns. The language used on the form was dictated by various state laws. The BSA did not have a choice in the language used on the form. It also is very similar to the language used on the original adult application.

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I’ve tried a couple of times, but haven’t been able to reach anyone yet.

How current is the current application form. I would have joined BSA around 2009. I’ve done the child abuse and state police background checks, but I really don’t recall ever signing anything giving the BSA permission to run Investigative Consumer Reports checks.

If I have already signed away permission to run these reports then why do we need to do it again. What has changed?

An explanation from the BSA’s General Counsel and some FAQs can be found on the Bryan on Scouting blog:

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As I mentioned originally. I got that email yesterday. I don’t believe that they are being completely truthful when they say that they will only pull a criminal background check, but you need to give them the right to run a full investigative background check.

I have no issue repeating the State Police and Child abuse background checks, but the new forms are granting them access to so much more information than I think that they have a right or need to know.

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Did you read the article? They are mandated by various state laws to the wording on the form. If you don’t trust the BSA to only pull the information they state they will pull (via Bryan’s blog above) then you must decide for yourself if you will continue as a volunteer.

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While the wording on the form would allow them to perform a credit check or other non-criminal background checks, I am confident that they won’t (and not just because they have already said they won’t).

They are already struggling to make ends meet and talking about yet another membership fee increase. Running a million-plus criminal background checks every five years is going to cost quite a bit. Do you really think they would add the cost of a million-plus credit checks as well, when there is nothing in a credit history that they could possibly use to exclude someone from membership based on their current membership policies?

Running credit checks would be a huge expense for zero return. While I don’t put it past the BSA to do some (what I would consider) unnecessary spending from time to time, I also don’t see any way they would be that deliberately wasteful.

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I understand your not having total faith in the BSA. The language they use isn’t unlike the language used by a number of other national youth organizations.

Consider that at some point some adult may behave in such a way as to warrant going beyond scratching the surface for a criminal record. How well do you want your children protected? I believe the BSA is trying to provide that level of protection.

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