Home Pastors Articles for Pastors The Screening Process That Protects Your Children and Church

The Screening Process That Protects Your Children and Church

4. Personal References
go outside the standard written application process for further input. References provide need-to-know information about the character, commitment, and a person’s history working with children. 

References should never include relatives or blood relations.

Once you make contact with the reference, introduce yourself, the organization, and describe the role you’re trying to fill. Always stress the position works directly with children. 

Questions to consider:

  • How long have you known this person and in what capacity?
  • Describe in your own words his/her character?
  • For churches, ask the reference to share their opinion on the person’s spiritual strengths and challenges?
  • Have the reference describe a time they observed the candidate working with children. How did the candidate perform?

If you detect any hesitancy or concern, ask if there was someone else you might contact who could better answer the question. If you’re unable to get the information you need, use additional channels such as professional associations, past workers and LinkedIn.

5. The Interview is critical because experts agree incorporating a personal interview during the screening process is an important step in preventing abuse. Having a face-to-face discussion yields valuable information and allows a candidate to be reviewed from different angles.

Be sure to include key leaders and those working directly with the candidate. The interview team should include 2-3 trusted staff members.

There are limits to what can be asked in an interview. Avoid discriminating or invasive lines of questioning.  

The final step is to bring the interviewers together to share their thoughts and opinions.  It’s helpful to have multiple people on the interview team for each candidate.

6. Motor Vehicle Report provides insight into a person’s character and can uncover critical red flags such as drugs or alcohol abuse, risky driving habits, and recklessness. Driving records show different pieces of information regarding the candidate and may help to corroborate the information they’ve shared. 

This check is recommended for anyone who will be transporting children for their job duties. In some states, driving under the influence convictions (DUI) is not contained on a criminal court record and can only be identified through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

7. The Waiting Period is role dependent, determined by the organization, and can last from thirty days to six months. For those working directly with children, use a time frame of at least six weeks. 

Instituting a waiting period allows time to train and educate a candidate about your organization and how they interact with staff members, leadership, and customers.  


Solid, committed people come from all walks of life. That’s why it’s important to find ones that are a good fit for your organization, and a comprehensive screening process is a step in the right direction.


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Angela Lewton is KidCheck’s child protection specialist. KidCheck provides secure children’s check-in systems. Angela focuses on the latest child safety research and trends. She is passionate about equipping organizations to improve child safety,