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Background Check Information 

Conducting a background check, in combination with other screening techniques, will go a long way to demonstrate that your church has been cautious in its selection practices. A background check is a valuable risk management and liability reduction tool. SafeChurch is pleased to partner with LexisNexis to offer you discount background-check services. Through our partnership with Group Publishing, GuideOne customers enjoy the following advantages:

  • No minimum orders required
  • No monthly billing fees
  • No pre-payment to a credit card; background check orders are invoiced to your Group Account
  • No hidden fees; packages are flat rate pricing

We provide a wide range of customized information services to members across the United States (sorry, background checks through SafeChurch are currently unavailable to Canadian members) to assist them in making crucial decisions relevant to staffing situations, whether the position is paid or unpaid. The information reported varies based on the information reporting laws in individual states and counties. Information on specific locations.

Getting Started

To get started ordering background checks, you'll need to first set up an account with LexisNexis Risk Management, Inc. This is a one-time process, and can be completed in four simple steps:

Note: Several forms require the free Adobe Reader. Download Adobe Reader if it is not already installed on your computer.

STEP 1: Download the Fax Cover Sheet and Account Activation Forms. Complete and print the forms (copy your Group Account Number from the Fax Cover Sheet to the Account Activation Form), initialing each page of the activation form and signing the last page.

STEP 2: Gather the business verification documentation described in the fax cover form you printed in step 1.

STEP 3: Fax the cover sheet, account activation form, and business documentation to LexisNexis at 970-622-4707.

STEP 4: Once the activation process is finalized, the Customer Administrator(s) will receive an email from LexisNexis within 3 business days inviting them to attend a phone training session. The training session is required in order to receive your user ID and password to place a background check order.

Again, you only need to go through those steps once to establish an account with LexisNexis.

Ordering Background Checks

Once your account is established, getting background checks is as easy as:

STEP 1: Have each of your applicants/volunteers sign the Permission to Obtain a Background Check form (PDF). Also available in an editable .rtf file. This form should be kept on file at your church for a minimum of five years to verify the approval. (Your state may require you to keep it longer—check with local counsel.) You will use information on the bottom of this information when placing your order online.

STEP 2: Select the appropriate screening package from our twelve package options below.

STEP 3: Go to the Shephard's Watch website. Login with the Account ID and Password given to you by LexisNexis.

SafeChurch Provides You with 12 Package Options

Package 1 ($9.00 per search)
The National Criminal Indicator Database Search comprises a search of the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Corrections, and Administrative Office of the Courts, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Sexual Offenders Registry, and the Dept. of Criminal Justice files and records, where available. Includes Social Security Verification, which provides the name, date issued and state, as well as address history.

Package 2 ($23.00 per search)
Includes all of Package 1, plus one County Criminal Records Search. This search will be conducted onsite in the selected county, and the price includes the court access fees except in the state of New York, which adds an additional $65.00. Additional counties may be added for $14 each (plus the additional access fee in the state of New York).

Package 3 ($23.00 per search)*
Includes all of Package 1, plus a Motor Vehicle Report, from the state in which the applicant is licensed. Depending upon the state, this may provide information such as dates of convictions, violations and accidents, sections violated, docket numbers, court locations and accident report numbers.

Package 4 ($36.00 per search)*
Includes all of Packages 1, 2, and 3: the National Criminal Indicator Database Search, Social Security Verification, one County Criminal Search ($65 additional in the state of New York), and one state Motor Vehicle Report. Additional counties may be added for $14 each (plus the additional access fee in the state of New York).

Package 5 ($15.00 per search)*
Includes a Motor Vehicle Report from the state where the applicant is licensed.

Package 6 ($6.00 per search)
Additional National Criminal Check—same person. You can search alias names of the individual being checked through the National Criminal Indicator Database for $6.00 per alias.

Package 7 ($3.00 per search)
Additional InstaCheck—same person. You can do social security verification of alias names of the individual being checked through the National Criminal Indicator Database for $3.00 per alias.

Package 8 ($7.50 per search)
Credit Plus (Normalized) Credit Report. Credit Plus is a normalized credit report that converts most cryptic information into a more readable report. Pulling a credit report for volunteer/employment purposes does NOT affect the consumer's credit report or score. To do this check, you will need the applicant's signature on another consent form. Also, member churches that want to do credit reports must file a Consumer Report Addendum with LexisNexis and allow a one-time site inspection to verify that credit reports can be secure as required by law. This site inspection is required by all 3 credit bureaus and the full $100 one-time fee is received by the company performing the site inspection.

Package 9 ($14.00 per search)
Federal Criminal Court search. This is a criminal records search conducted at a single U.S. District Court within a federal judicial district. U.S. District Courts are trial courts for matters involving federal law. These are cases that involve the government, a violation of the constitution, or a controversy that crosses state lines. Criminal cases landing in federal court are initiated by the government through a U.S. attorney, in coordination with a federal law enforcement agency and with the acceptance by the grand jury. Federal crimes are not registered in the state criminal records search that comprises our basic packages 1-4. While federal crimes are more rare, they are also more significant.

Package 10 ($1.00 per search)
OFAC "Terrorist Watch" Search. The Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Given the current political environment, all applicants should be searched.

Package 11 ($8.00 per search)
Education Verification. If the position requires that applicants have a certain level of education, you should search for the highest level required. This search will verify with the educational institution you specify what the applicant's attendance dates were with that institution, and any degrees earned.

Package 12 ($8.00 per search)
Previous Employment Verification. This search will verify with the organization you specify whether the applicant was employed by them, the dates, and the applicant's title.

*The state of California requires organizations requesting Motor Vehicle Reports to register as commercial requesters and pay a fee. Visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website for their current information.


Fair Credit Reporting Act Requirements on Background Checks

Background checks must be conducted in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). One of the requirements is that each applicant must complete and sign a form authorizing you to obtain a background report. Your church must retain a signed copy of that form for at least five years after requesting a report.

If your church decides to deny an applicant opportunity based on information contained in their background report, the FCRA also requires that you provide the applicant with the following information:

1. A copy of their background report and a Consumer Summary. Included within the applicant's background report is a summary of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (called a "Consumer Summary"). Download additional copies of the Consumer Summary.

2. 5-Day Letter – Five day's advance notice of your church's intention to deny opportunity to the applicant and contact information for LexisNexis so that the applicant may dispute information contained within their report. View a sample 5-Day letter.

3. Notice of Adverse Action – Final notice of your church's decision to deny opportunity to the applicant and contact information for LexisNexis so that the applicant may dispute information contained within their report. View a sample Notice of Adverse Action letter.
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