Background checks

All Tier I and II individuals must undergo a biennial screening process that must include at least both a multistate criminal background check and a National Sex Offender Registry screening.  

Program supervisors and hosted programs are responsible for ensuring that program staff do not have a criminal background that would disqualify the individual from participating in a sponsored or hosted programs.

Screening options

There are two options when requesting background checks:

  • Human Resources - If the individual is a VCU employee that has had a break in service for six months or more, HR will conduct the appropriate background checks as part of the hiring process.
  • Sterling Volunteers

Eligibility requirements

The screening: Eligibility Requirements guide outlines convictions that may would normally render an individual ineligible to work or volunteer with VCU sponsored or hosted youth programs. It is intended to assist program supervisors when reviewing screening results in compliance with the policy.

Biennial screenings for Tier I individuals

Tier I individuals who are VCU employees and have worked for the university for more than two years will need to undergo a biennial screening process. The Tier I individual’s immediate supervisor is responsible for conducting these screenings.

Tier I individuals not affiliated with VCU should consult with their organization’s human resources professionals or legal counsel for advice on conducting biennial screenings related to this policy. VCU does not have a role or responsibility in reviewing or interpreting background check results for outside entities.

Sterling Volunteers: Background check platform

Looking for a platform to make background checks easier to track and share? The Mary and Frances Youth Center offers Sterling Volunteers background screening platform as a resource for programs and activities involving youth on VCU’s campus. Sterling Volunteers can be used to screen both volunteers and employees as required under the Safety and Protection of Minors Policy.

For more information, visit

Why Sterling Volunteers?

Sterling Volunteers already has a universitywide account with VCU, so new VCU youth programs can opt in at any time with no annual service fee attached. You only pay for the background checks you order. Program benefits include:

  • Select desired level of service
  • Gain access to the Verified Volunteers advocates team for support
  • Access to a customized VCU training on how to use the platform
  • Track and review volunteers through the dashboard feature

Levels of service and pricing

You can choose your own level of service for each background check through Sterling Volunteers. The levels of service are listed below.

  • Level 2: The Advanced Criminal Locator Search - $13/screening
  • Level 3: The Complete Criminal Locator Search - $25/screening

Each account or program has the option to pay for the screenings for their volunteers and employees or ask the volunteers to pay for their own screening. If your program is paying for the screenings, you also have the option to ask volunteers to make a donation toward their screening to help offset the cost.

If you have questions about levels of services or billing, email or call (855) 326-1860.

Sharing background checks

If at any time an individual would like to share their background check information with another organization within the community or another department at the university, they can purchase the Fast Pass for $4. The Fast Pass allows individuals to share their background check results indefinitely for up to one year. The first time background check results are shared is free.

Steps to sign up for a Sterling Volunteers account:

1. Email stating your interest in Verified Volunteers. Please include the following:

  • Indicate that you are part of VCU
  • Program supervisor's name
  • Name of the program or activity
  • Name of your department

2. Sterling Volunteers will send an activation packet.

3. Complete the required forms in the activation packet and return to Sterling Volunteers. To request a completed sample activation packet, please email

4. Your account will be set up within 48 hours. You will receive a welcome email from Sterling Volunteers with your credentials and dates for web-based training sessions.

Note: If you need to run background checks for your program or department that are unrelated to the Safety and Protection of Minors Policy or the VCU Human Resources hiring process, you can set up a separate Sterling Volunteers account. Please do not use the account you created for policy screenings for other non-policy screenings. Non-policy accounts require additional forms and setup processes. To set up this type of account, please email Mary Mendoza with Sterling Volunteers at and indicate the purpose of your account.