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 per Kiwanis Policy B.16., Procedure 197. 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.  

NOTE: ANY member may receive a background check through Kiwanis International if the club requires its members to do so. Clubs are strongly encouraged to ensure confidential background checks for all adults who will work directly with youth outside the school and/or who may not have undergone a background check. Contact your club to find out more about its requirements and procedures. 

Who is required to have a background checked?  

Kiwanis advisors:  

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

  • Using the Secretary Dashboard of the Kiwanis Online Reporting system, a Kiwanis club’s secretary needs to report who serves as the Kiwanis advisor for each of the club’s sponsored SLPs. Once a background check is completed, it will be reflected on the Kiwanis dashboard.


  • Report Kiwanis advisors to Member Services at

Faculty/facility advisors:  

Faculty and facility advisors need to meet background check expectations for their school, organization or agency, but are not subject to Kiwanis policies to hold the position of faculty/facility advisor.  

  • If a faculty/facility advisor is also listed as a Kiwanis advisor, they are required to undergo a background check through Kiwanis International’s provider, Safe Hiring Solutions (SHS).
  • Faculty/facility advisors must undergo a background check if they are working with youth at Kiwanis International-sponsored events. These include the Key Club international convention, the Key Club governor and administrator training conference, the Key Club International Leadership Conference and any Key Leader weekends.


A chaperone is defined as a Kiwanis member, faculty member, parent, legal guardian or person who is in loco parentis (in the place of a parent), 21 years of age or older, who has been approved by the school or agency and registered with the school or agency to accompany youth members at a specific event. 

  • Kiwanis International requires clear criminal history background checks conducted by its provider for all adults working with youth at all Kiwanis International-sponsored events

District administrators/chairpersons and committee members: 

All district administrators/chairpersons and committee members for all Service Leadership Programs are required to have a clear criminal history background check conducted by Kiwanis International. A district may also require criminal history background checks for other adults working with youth as part of district programs or events. 

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? 

Kiwanis International cannot rely on other organizations' background checks because: 

  • 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 consistent results because all members are held to the same standard review.
  • Liability issues dictate that Kiwanis International cannot rely on other organizations' checks in the event of an incident or allegation.
  • If a Kiwanis advisor completed a background check through the school or sponsoring organization, Kiwanis International would not be notified if the background check expired — and the advisor then would 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.

Why are Kiwanis advisors required to get a background check? 

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 making sure that our members and those we serve are protected.  

What are the requirements for background checks?  

Kiwanis advisors must obtain a criminal history background check that is processed through Kiwanis International. Kiwanis International’s current provider is Safe Hiring Solutions (SHS) (See instructions below for members outside the United States and the Caribbean.) 

Why have we chosen Safe Hiring Solutions?  

  • 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.

What causes a criminal history background check to be considered “not clear?” 

  • 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, 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.”

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.

Is my personal data secure?  

  • Yes. Safe Hiring Solutions is SSAE 16 and PCI compliant. All background screening data is stored securely in a third-party application that is encrypted and subject to regular security audits. SHS does not store sensitive information such as social security numbers internally on its network. All software that is proprietary to Safe Hiring Solutions is stored securely on the Microsoft Azur cloud. Those applications are monitored by a security company that is owned and operated by a former Special Forces cyber security expert, who ensures the highest security levels available by Microsoft are utilized.

How does a member get a background check?

View Background Check Information Graphic

Background checks are processed by a member-specific link. This link is connected to your personal Kiwanis membership ID and should be used only by you. Do not share with others for their use. To obtain a member-specific link, the member must do one of the following:  

  • Log into the member portal and initiate the BGC process under “background check.”
  • Contact the club secretary for a member-specific email link sent from the secretary dashboard.

What is the cost of a background check? And who is responsible for paying? 

The cost is US$25 for advisors in the United States and the Caribbean (see instructions below for members outside the U.S. and the Caribbean). 

  • The cost of the background check can be paid by the individual, club or district.
  • You will need credit card information (Visa, MasterCard or Discover) to submit at the end of the process.
  • Members also can send checks or process the payment by phone with Safe Hiring Solutions by calling customer service at 1-888-215-8296 (U.S. and International) 

If a club wants to pay for a member’s background check, it has the option to set up an account with SHS to be billed directly for its members. To set up an account, complete the following online form with SHS: 

NOTE: This is for clubs that wish to be billed for member reports. Clubs wishing for members to pay for their own background checks should refer their members to the Kiwanis Connect portal. Members can then initiate their own reports. You can access this site here. 

How long are the results of a background check valid?  

Background checks are valid for two years. As the expiration date approaches, you will receive an email prompting you to do one of the following to obtain a web link for a background check.  

  1. Use the member portal (Kiwanis Connect):
  2. Request a link from your club secretary.
  3. Email to request a link.

Countries Outside the US and Caribbean: 

For members in Canada:  

A Kiwanis advisor must obtain a vulnerable sector check from the local police municipality. Once this VSC record has been received, the member must mail the original to Kiwanis International for verification (a copy or emailed PDF of the VSC will not be accepted). After review and verification by Kiwanis International of the original, we will mail it back to the member. The member’s record then will be updated with the date of the criminal history check.  

As a resident of Canada, please obtain a vulnerable sector check through your local Canadian police service. Upon your receipt of the results, the original must be mailed directly to: 

Kiwanis International - CONFIDENTIAL 

ATTN: BGC Processing 

3636 Woodview Trace 

Indianapolis IN 46268 


Note: Mailing the original through postal service is still the safest way to send VSC results. It is not safe to email the results nor is it valid to send a certified copy of the results.  

Other countries: 

To obtain a background check, a member must contact to request an international link.  

The following countries are processed via Credence: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Switzerland. Credence is one of the longest established, privately owned background screening companies in the industry, run by a senior management team that similarly has a long history of working in the international background screening market. 

Safe Hiring Solutions processes background checks differently depending on the country. Some countries may request additional information from local police authorities, or additional fees may be assessed to obtain criminal history records.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Will the Kiwanis advisor or Kiwanis club be directly notified when the background check is complete? 
A: Yes. Safe Hiring Solutions will notify individuals directly when results are received, and it will be noted on the Kiwanis Secretary Dashboard of the Kiwanis online reporting system. You also can email to request your status. 

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.  

To see the complete policy and procedure regarding a criminal history background check, refer to Kiwanis International’s policy B.16, procedure 197. 

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