Volunteer Background Clearance Guidelines

LSS-SW serves people from all different life experiences, including children, families in need, individuals with disabilities, refugees, individuals experiencing homelessness, and vulnerable older adults. LSS-SW depends on volunteers to assist staff in providing well-rounded, ongoing services for clients. In order to guarantee the safety of our clients, to meet the requirements of our federal and state contracts, and to provide a high quality of volunteer engagement, we have put in place the following guidelines to ensure that volunteers are fit to serve.

  • A Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card uses your fingerprints to obtain both state and federal criminal history records check. Many states, including Arizona, require this level of background clearance to work and volunteer with refugees, children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations. The card is valid for 6 years and costs $65 + an $8 service fee. This is required by volunteers that provide services to our clients, including Welcome Teams, with a few small exceptions. (If you've already connected with a volunteer specialist and are looking for the steps to obtaining your clearance card, click here.)
  • A Verified Volunteers Background check is a bit less extensive than the Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card. This is required by administrative volunteers that do not interact with clients and costs $17. 
  • Central Registry is a database that stores information regarding allegations of child abuse or neglect and abuse toward vulnerable individuals. This is required for all of our volunteers and is free. 

Below is a snapshot of the clearances that are required. Once you have been assigned a role, a volunteer specialist will explain which level of clearance is required. 

Are any background clearances required for one-time event volunteers?
No, one-time event volunteers will be asked to submit a one-time waiver. 

Why are volunteers asked to pay for their own background clearances?
We hope that the cost is not a deterrent. We are a nonprofit with scarce resources that we hope to direct as much as possible to our clients. We have found that most volunteers are understanding and willing to pay for their own costs. In the case of the Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card, your card is valid for 6 years and stays with you. If you are unable to afford the cost we may be able to find a position that does not require background clearance or budget for the cost. You will be able to talk to a volunteer specialist about this during your interview.