Does Your Child’s Youth Sports League Conduct Background Checks on Its Coaches?
It might surprise you to know that some people who spend large amounts of time with your children are not always required by law to have a background check. What’s even more alarming is that there are organizations where a sex offender can get away with volunteering for programs that cater to children, and police can’t do anything to stop it because it didn’t initially involve a child.
When we send our children to school, we trust that they are going to be safe. Teachers and most school volunteers are properly vetted and screened. But once they head off to the playing field, the game changes. In some states, private sports programs are not required to run background checks on their volunteers. Because they’re not required to, some opt to not go through the time or the expense of checking out their volunteers. In my opinion, that’s a strike out.
As a parent, you have to be an advocate for your child’s safety. If you have never met the coach, ask questions about his or her background. Experts also offer these things to look out for.
- Is the coach too touchy or hands on?
- Has the coach exchanged phone numbers with your child?
- Does the coach contact your kid directly through social media?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it could be a red flag to a larger problem. Any youth coach should be in direct contact with the parent, NOT the player. As a first year sports league parent, getting used to the team setting, it’s not a bad idea for the parent to stick around at practice and keep an eye on how things are going. Get to know the other parents and the coaches. Ask questions. If you have concerns, there are multiple public record websites to conduct simple name searches yourself such as NSOPW. Most states have their own sites as well that you can search by name and even by city.
Some states require the volunteer conduct a self-background check. While these techniques aren’t always the most accurate, they at least provide some protection for the young people participating in the activity.
The people running youth programs have several options when it comes to screening volunteers. It’s in the best interest of everyone involved for all youth sports organizations to conduct some type of vetting on its volunteers.
MBI Worldwide offers discounts to non-profit organizations and youth sports leagues because we believe that the safety of children should be a priority, without hindering the budget.