Obviously, I’m a strong believer in background checks and the need to protect oneself and others from the occasional nut job, swindler, criminal, or just plain old repeat offender. However, as mentioned in previous posts, the post 9/11 world has lead to a rather alarming rise in criminal background checks and when or how they are conducted. Specifically, on who they are carried out.
I recently ran across a story about how a newspaper staff member in New York who was told she had to undergo a criminal background check, Social Security number verification, AND reveal complete information about her educational history, driving records, work habits and residency. PLUS, a breakdown of the last three jobs she has held going back 20 or so years!
And before I forget, she was also required to provide details about specific aspects of her character, and she also had to describe any exceptional abilities she possessed that our government should know about. I suppose this was due to the fact that she might be a terrorist in sheep’s clothing…
To top it all off, these records were to be given without reservation, and she had to allow any party that “needs” to have access free reign. These include employers, credit bureaus, banks, state offices, institutions, and law-enforcement agencies.
Lastly, she can hold nobody liable in the event they disburse the information, it turns out to be incorrect, and her life is ruined as a result. You should know, however, this mind boggling amount of very personal information is not required because she is a terrorist, or tied to known crooks, or even a suspect in any way.
The real deep, and dark reason for all this is because…
She has a passion for making craft projects out of yarn in her spare time.
This staff member is an indirect service volunteer with a hospice agency in the upper northwest corner of New York State. Get this…her volunteer work includes making grief assistance pieces that councilors pass out to those who have suffered loss of some description. Can somebody please tell me exactly why the h*ll a craftsperson who likes to helping sad or depressed people through knitting needs a full on personal history search, which is only missing a strip search?
This woman produces the craft pieces in her home from materials that have been donated to her, and then turns them over to a third party for delivery when she is finished with them. She has no direct contact with any clients, staff, or even councilors. If the logic is correct here, she should also be conducting a full blown criminal investigation into each person who is donating materials. However, in the recent past she was handed a 3 page declassification form and told to fill it out or stop making condolence items.
Well, my dear people. They way I see it, we are heading down a pretty serious path here. Volunteering in America is on a downward spiral as it is, and this is only making it worse. People are undoubtedly becoming more self centered and all this does it to further isolate everyone from each other. Perhaps that’s the point of all these nebulous requirements that nobody seems to have a real grasp on, or why they exist.
Obama himself has publicly supported volunteer work and went so far as to say the United States economic recovery would be aided by volunteers helping family, friends, organizations, or others in need. Plus, volunteer work separates the true achievers on college applications as well.
The blame for these regulations falls on this: “in an effort to meet insurance requirements and comply with government regulations.” Seems I have heard that before. Nowadays, pretty much everywhere I look, government regulations are taking over everything from banking to background check procedures, and the data privacy is practically a thing of the past.
And while I definitely agree that an extensive check should be conducted on those who work within the caretaking or healthcare industry, a volunteer who knits items should definitely not be subject to what basically amounts to a digital strip search. Measures such as this only make people more leery of our government, and serve to kill volunteer work deader than a door-nail.
Categories: Volunteer Screening