Do We Need To Live Scan Minors?

by | May 9, 2024

As states like California adopt new laws related to the protection of minors, one of the requirements of AB 506 [also known as Business & Professions Code §18975(b)(1)] is that it requires all “regular volunteers” to undergo a background check involving Live Scan fingerprinting. Live Scan fingerprinting looks into the criminal history of the applicant. However, B&P §18975(e)(1) defines a regular volunteer as “a volunteer with the youth service organization who is 18 years of age or older…”  It may therefore be reasonably inferred that AB 506 does NOT require minors to be Live Scanned. 

Another reason for not fingerprinting/Live Scanning minors is the fact that juvenile court records are protected to an even greater degree than regular criminal offender record information. Juvenile records can be sealed or expunged and are not ordinarily accessible except for certain government jobs, (military, law enforcement, FBI, etc.) and pursuant to certain court proceedings. 

Subsequently, it is quite unlikely that a fingerprint check would reveal a juvenile’s arrest record as a minor. This, however, may not be the case for juvenile arrests of minors who are prosecuted as adults as those convictions remain as a permanent record.

Yet another reason for not fingerprinting/Live Scanning minors may be related to your state’s Department of Justice requirements or restrictions regarding the fingerprinting of minors. This may be related to the age of the minor or the documentation or consent required to conduct a Live Scan criminal history check.

All of that aside, even if there is no Live Scan fingerprinting done for minor volunteers, it is a best practice that organizations still conduct a comprehensive background check entailing an application process, verification of identity, an interview, a national sex offender registry search, and reference checks with friends, family, ministry leaders, supervisors, coworkers, neighbors, landlords, housemates, and others with information on the applicant’s character, conduct, honesty, integrity, faith practices, and mode of living. Predators will seek opportunities to access children in organizations who least scrutinize their applicants and who prioritize convenience, simplicity, and ease of volunteering over the safety and protection of our most vulnerable – our children. 

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