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.
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 or volunteers at a cookie booth*. Biweekly, new volunteers with one of the listed roles will receive an email from Business Services with instructions on how to complete background check. Members will have two options:
1. Members can provide a CBC provided by a school, military, religious group, government organization etc.
2. Members can request the background check initiated by Sterling Volunteers.
** members are responsible for covering the cost of background check.
The results (to confirm eligibility) of the CBC should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org via email within 3 weeks of role assignment. Documentation can include a screenshot, email notification sent from the vendor, and/or picture from phone. Name, date and eligibility status should be clearly visible and in English.
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, 2022, 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 either completed by Sterling Volunteers or an approved third party. 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 $8.00 USD per volunteer who are American Citizens and have been living overseas for less than 5 years. International background checks are $33.00 USD for local nationals and/or American Citizens who have resided abroad for more than five years. There is no cost for members in the military.
Q: How long does a background check take?
A: You’ll spend a few minutes completing an online form to get your check started. By filling out the request form and paying for your background check you will have initiated the process to receive a link from Sterling. 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 request form and it 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: Yes, members can provide eligibility results provided by a school, military, religious group, government organization etc. The results (to confirm eligibility) of the background check should be submitted to USAGSO Customer Care via email within 3 weeks of role assignment. Documentation can include a screenshot, email notification sent from the vendor, and/or picture from phone. Name and eligibility status should be clearly visible and in English.
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:
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: