Background check policy

Kiwanis advisors to any sponsored Service Leadership Program are required to have a criminal background check conducted and verified by Kiwanis International. By offering a standard, comprehensive background check for all Kiwanis advisors through Kiwanis International, we can be confident that all Kiwanis clubs are protecting those we serve—and protecting all Kiwanis members.


Q: Who is required to have clear criminal history background checks? 

A: Whomever is reported as the designated Kiwanis advisor to any sponsored Service Leadership Program club. Kiwanis International’s SLPs are K-Kids, Builders Club, Key Club, Circle K, and Aktion Club. 

Q: Why are Kiwanis advisors required to get a background check?
A: There is no more important responsibility than the safety and well-being of those we serve—from the children in youth programs to adults with disabilities. Required background checks help ensure that Kiwanians meet the highest standards by identifying past behavior that may disqualify a person from working closely with those we serve. Background checks are an important step in which Kiwanis can ensure that our members and those we serve are protected. 

Q: How long are the results of a background check valid? 
A: Kiwanis advisors’ background checks will be valid for two years.

Q: What kind of background check is needed?
Kiwanis advisors must obtain a criminal history background check that is processed through Kiwanis International. Kiwanis International’s current provider is Safe Hiring Solutions.

Q: What is the cost of a background check? And who is responsible for paying?
A: The cost is US$25 for advisors in the United States and the Caribbean. Kiwanis International is still negotiating pricing for Canada and Europe. The cost of the background check can be paid by the individual, club or district.

Q: What about other advisors? 
A: Faculty and facility advisors need to meet the background check expectations for their school, organization or agency, but are not subject to Kiwanis policies. 

Q: What are the reporting requirements for background checks? 
A: For the Kiwanis club, there are no reporting requirements for background checks. A Kiwanis club’s secretary does need to report who is serving as the Kiwanis advisor for each of the club’s SLP clubs on the Secretary Dashboard of the Kiwanis Online Reporting system. Once a background check is completed, it will be reflected in the Kiwanis Dashboard.  

Q: Is a background check from another provider acceptable?
No. Kiwanis International does not accept background checks for Kiwanis advisors from any entity other than Kiwanis International's provider. 

Q: Will the Kiwanis advisor or Kiwanis club be directly notified when the background check is complete?
A: No. Due to the volume of information being received and processed, it is not possible to notify individuals directly when results are received. However, it will be noted on the Kiwanis Secretary Dashboard of the Kiwanis online reporting system. 

Q: What happens to a club that either neglects to or refuses to have a background check performed on the appropriate club member? 
A: Currently, there are no direct consequences for a club. However, Kiwanis International provides club liability insurance—so an incident following failure to comply with this policy could subsequently affect Kiwanis’ premium for such coverage. 

Q: If the Kiwanis advisor does not get a background check, will the club’s financial protection through Kiwanis International liability insurance be affected? 
A: No, currently the club’s coverage is not directly affected. However, long-term costs of such coverage for the organization could rise if claims result from a club’s failure to conduct a background check. 

Q: What causes a criminal history background check to be considered “not clear”? 
A: A criminal history background check is considered “not clear” if it indicates: a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; a felony or conviction or registration of a violent and/or sexual nature, involving any type of abuse of a child, involving threatening or intimidating behavior, or otherwise of a physical nature; or a felony related to larceny or theft. Kiwanis International criteria outlined in Kiwanis International procedure 197 should be used to determine if a check is “clear”.

Q: Why have we chosen Safe Hiring Solutions? 
A: Safe Hiring Solutions has been well vetted as the provider of Kiwanis International's background checks. In fact, Safe Hiring Solutions is the chosen background check provider for thousands of other volunteer organizations. The company’s background check screening includes Social Security verification, a county criminal record search and in-depth searches of the national criminal database and national sex offender registry. Click here for more information about Safe Hiring Solutions

Q: Are discounts available for individuals needing renewals of background checks?
A: Discounts are not available for any background checks. The same steps are required each time a background check occurs, so no less work is required from the provider. This thoroughness is important: Since a full background check is completed each time, complete and current information is collected each time.

Q: If the Kiwanis advisor has a background check through the school system or the sponsoring organization, why is he or she still required to complete one through Kiwanis International?
A: Kiwanis International cannot rely on other organizations' background checks for a few reasons:

  • All background checks are different. (For example, some only check a person’s current address, some only go back one year, some only check for certain offenses, etc.). With background checks conducted by Kiwanis International’s provider, we have the confidence of results that come from the same check for all Kiwanis advisors. All members will be held to the same standard check.

  • Liability issues dictate that Kiwanis International cannot rely on other organizations' checks in the event of an incident or allegation.

  • If a Kiwanis advisor only completed a background check through the school or sponsoring organization, Kiwanis International would not be notified if the background check expired—and the advisor would then be out of compliance.

By having the same check for all advisors, Kiwanis can ensure all advisors are up to date with their background checks.

Q: How does a Kiwanis advisor get a background check?
A: The Kiwanis club secretary will update the Kiwanis advisors (including their correct email addresses) for each of the SLPs on the secretary dashboard. Kiwanis International will then email advisors who need a background check to provide instructions and the web link for completing the background check process.

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