In the prior post, we emphazied the importance of having every counselee sign a consent form for the counseling offered by your ministry. This allows expectations to be properly communicated and agreed to before counseling begins. A second component to a legal audit for the counseling ministry is to require background checks of the staff counselors whether paid or volunteer staff.
A “hit” on a background check may not automatically disqualify a person from service in the counseling ministry, but what it does is allow that decision to be made in the light of day. In reality a background check is a layer of protection for your counselee, your counseling ministry, as well as each individual counselor.
It shoudl be noted that there are many different types of background checks. In Indiana, where we are located, there is a free service. This service is fairly limited but it comes at virtually no cost to the ministry. There are additional, and more extensive, checks that can cost as much as $100 per check. In consultation with an attorney the ministry will need to decide what level of background check is taking appropriate due diligence.
It should also be noted that the ministry will need to decide how often these checks should be repeated. It may be possible to explain to your team (volunteer and paid staff) that if anything occurs that would change a background check, that person must inform the ministry leader directly.