The IRRDP is an educational and service entity administered through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to help your community develop sustainable recreation and leisure services. Consultation with University legal counsel verified that IRRDP's role is restricted to recommending (rather than mandating) that your community conduct criminal background checks on your summer recreation staff and volunteers. Since the Summer Daze staff are employed by your municipality, your municipal or park district legal counsel should advise you to determine if criminal background checks are mandatory, given the legal structure of the governing organization (e.g., city/village park and/or recreation department, city/village program, park district, or non-profit organization).
For communities whose park district is collaborating with the IRRDP and administering the Summer Daze Youth Recreation Program, be aware of the Illinois Park District Code (70 ILCS 1205).
The IRRDP staff believes criminal background checks are an important risk management strategy to protect program participants.
IRRDP realizes most Citizen Action Committee members have not done criminal background checks in the past, so we hope the following information will be helpful to get you started. Admittedly, conducting thorough criminal background checks can be very difficult, expensive, and time consuming.
Currently, the American Camping Association is working to improve the information infrastructure and accessibility to information for conducting criminal background checks, because of the current struggles that recreation and camp professionals are having with this process. The IRRDP staff suggests you collaborate with your municipal police chief or county sheriff to determine an appropriate method of conducting criminal background checks.
Below are a variety of resources available to you to conduct criminal background checks.
The IRRDP staff recommends your community complete all of the following on each staff member and volunteer working with minors:
This web site allows your CAC to access information related to child protection, child abuse, and mandated reporting. By Illinois State Law, recreation staff are MANDATED REPORTERS. Also, IDCFS has a tracking system, which you should incorporate into your background checks. It is called the IDCFS-CANTS check. CANTS stands for Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System. The IRRDP staff recommends your community complete this process on anyone working with minors.
This web site has an on-line search that allows you to type in a person's name to see if they have ever been or are currently incarcerated in an Illinois corrections facility. This is a free and quick method to check corrections file. This is not a comprehensive check.
This web site allows you to contact the Illinois State Police. The Illinois State Police does background checks by mail or on-line. The on-line check is quick. The mail check is slow (4-6 weeks). Both checks cost money.
This web site allows you to check if a person has been determined to be a sexual offender or sexual predator. It is a free, quick, and easy check to do on staff and volunteers. Also, you can type in your community's name to see if anyone living in your community is a sexual offender.
This web site is a link to a private company who does quick on-line, fax, or by mail background checks. This check costs money.
This web site allows you to access all 50 states on-line sex offender listings. This is helpful if your community is geographically located next to other states or if you have an applicant who has lived or worked out of the State of Illinois.
This web site link is for another private sector company who completes criminal background checks for a fee.