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Volunteer Background Check

Parents, guardians and girls trust that Girl Scouts is a safe place for them, and USAGSO does not take that trust lightly. We are committed to maintaining policies and procedures that create a safe environment for girls to discover, connect and take action.

Criminal background checks are one of the strategies used to ensure that girls are safe with us. USAGSO's policy is to conduct criminal background checks on all new volunteers, and to repeat them on all volunteers every three years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do new volunteers get a background check?

A: The process begins when you register as an Adult Volunteer with an assigned role of troop leader, OCMT member, cookie coordinator, Overseas Volunteer Partner, or episodic volunteer at any overnight event.  On the 1st and 15th of each month, new volunteers with one of the listed roles will receive an email from Sterling Volunteers with a link to complete a background check. 


Q: I have been volunteering for years- why are you asking me to do this again?

A: Thank you for your continued service to Girl Scouting. In accordance with USAGSO policy, effective October 1, 2021, all members who join and wish to act or are currently acting as a volunteer in the following roles: troop leader, OCMT member, troop cookie manager, Overseas Volunteer Partner, or episodic volunteer at any overnight event, will have a mandatory background check issued by Sterling Volunteers regardless of when the most recent background check was completed. For new members,they will receive an email from Sterling Volunteers to complete said background check, which is then valid for three years. The link that is included in the email is valid for 3 days.  Volunteers in the listed roles who do not complete a background check are not permitted to participate in any girl activity. OCMTs should perform checks and balances throughout the year to ensure all adult volunteers have completed the background check process. Troop Leaders who do not follow this policy are endangering the girls and violating USAGSO insurance requirements. Action will be taken in these circumstances.

Q: How much does a background check cost?

A: The standard cost of a criminal background check is $11.00 USD per volunteer who are American Citizens and $35.00 USD for local nationals and/or American Citizens who have resided abroad for more than five years. All background checks occurring in Membership Year 2022 (MY22) will be paid for by USAGSO – assuring that this comprehensive program begins on the right foot, with the most up to date data and safety measures in place for our communities. In three years, when the MY22 background check expires, subsequent reminder emails will be sent by Sterling Volunteers to renew those background checks and members will be expected to cover those costs. 

 Q: How long does a background check take?

A: You’ll spend a few minutes completing an online form to get your check started. The turnaround time on a background check can vary based on the types of searches conducted in your specific check. The majority of searches conducted through Sterling Volunteers will be completed in 24 to 72 hours. In certain cases, if criminal information is found in a background check or if the volunteer has lived in multiple jurisdictions, the search can take longer.

Q: I was sent the U.S. Background Check but I need to complete the International Screening. What should I do? 

A: First, if you have a recent U.S. address (including APO, FPO and DPO) complete the U.S. background check. If you do not and/or you do not have a social security number, please email customer care  and a link for the international background check will be sent to you within 24 hours. 

Q: Are you checking my credit? Will this impact my credit rating?

A: No. We do not check financial information or credit for any of our volunteer positions. We are only doing a criminal background check.

Q: May I provide a previous background check or one from another organization/school/military installation or government agency?

A: Unfortunately, no. For USAGSO to maintain accuracy in reporting of all background checks, only those initiated and completed through Sterling Volunteers will be accepted. 

Q: Do I need to provide my Social Security Number?

A: Yes, if you have one.  Respecting our member’s personal information is very important to USAGSO. Our vendor, Sterling Volunteers, provides a secure online process for submitting your information. USAGSO does not see or store your Social Security number and Sterling Volunteers only stores the last four digits. We are confident that there is little to no risk to you in our online background check process.

Q: What could exclude me from volunteering with Girl Scouts?

A: USAGSO cannot work with an adult who has been convicted of, has pleaded guilty to, has received adjudication for, or has pleaded no contest to the following crimes:

Automatic Disqualification

  • Registered Sex Offender
  • Crimes against children
  • Felony offenses against persons
  • Felony offenses against a family member
  • Crimes defined as public indecency
  • Crimes involving the use of weapons
  • Any violent crime
  • Any felony drug-related offense
  • Any felony conviction within the five (5) year period preceding the background check
  • Any offense involving driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated or equivalent within the five (5) year period preceding the background check will be automatically disqualified but may be eligible for reversal upon appeal by prospective volunteer
  • Residing on the same premises as a registered sex offender (may only participate as a parent/guardian)

Possible Disqualification

For all other criminal offenses, or felony convictions older than the five-year period, USAGSO shall review the applicant’s situation on a case-by-case basis. The decision whether to allow service within USAGSO’s discretion, and factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature and severity of the criminal conduct
  • The position for which the person seeks to volunteer
  • The length of time since the criminal conduct occurred
  • The circumstances under which the crime was committed
  • The degree of rehabilitation
  • The likelihood that the person will commit the crime again
  • The number of crimes committed by the prospective volunteer