Background Checks & Child Safety Certification
College policy stipulates that all faculty members, staff, students, volunteers, and other members of the Smith community who may have direct and unsupervised contact with children in the course of their employment or service activity must pass the Smith Child Safety Certification prior to commencing their employment or service activity. There are two parts to the Child Safety Certification process: Background (CORI/SORI) checks and Child Safety Training. Successful completion of these parts will convey Child Safety Certification to the individual for a period of three years and apply to all college programs and activities.
It is the responsibility of the Smith program or activity director to ensure that an individual (whether faculty, staff, student or volunteer) who is required to have a background check in accordance with this policy does not commence their employment or volunteer service until both the background check and training have been completed. Background checks may take up to three weeks to be completed.
The Child Safety Certification process will be managed electronically with database collection of program and activity information. Names of individuals who are child safety certified will be available to all Program/Activity Managers. Individuals do not have to be pre-registered for any Smith program or activity because the Certification is valid for all programs/activities; individuals may seek Child Safety Certification prior to engagement with a specific program/activity (e.g., students may pro-actively become Certified because they wish to seek employment at the CECE or Campus School). The status of individuals who have started but not completed the Child Safety Certification process will only be available to the Program Manager of the program they are affiliated with.
Procedures for Background Checks
Background checks are required for employees/students/volunteers interacting with minors.
In addition to its standard policy on background checks, Smith requires that all faculty members, paid College staff (full and part-time), all student volunteers, and any other individuals who may have direct and unmonitored contact with minors, including any individuals who regularly provide school-related transportation to minors, undergo a thorough criminal history and background investigation every three years.
The background investigation is dependent on the position being sought and may include, but not be limited to, Massachusetts criminal and sex offender records (CORI/SORI ), a national criminal and sex offender search. No personal identifiable information will be accessible to any person with access to the database except for authorized HR or School Dean’s Office personnel and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the purpose of the check.
Step 1: Begin the online, secure child safety certification process by creating your personal Child Safety Certification Account.
Step 2: Complete and print the on line Authorization Form.
Faculty/staff members must go to the Office of Human Resources (faculty/staff) and bring a government issued form of photo identification and the completed form. No appointment is necessary, subject to normal office hours.
Students (undergraduate and graduate) and all Volunteers should go to Jan Morris at the Office of Student Affairs in Clark Hall 102 and bring a government issued form of photo identification and the completed form during the following open office times:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays:
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
If students are unable to make those times, they can call 413-585-4940 to schedule a 10-minute appointment with Jan Morris during another time that fits their schedule.
There, an authorized staff member shall confirm that the information on the form is complete and verify the identity of the individual by checking the individual's government-issued photo ID at the time the Authorization Form is submitted. The Human Resources or the Student Affairs Office staff member will sign the Form, make a copy of it for their records, and then submit the original form or electronic records to the state for processing. The process takes less than five minutes.
The college will follow its current standard policy and Massachusetts Law on background checks. If the CORI check return indicates no adverse or criminal history in the applicant’s background, that status will be reflected in the Child Safety Certification database.
While the background check is in process, the online database will show a status of “not clear” or "pending." Once the individual is cleared for the position or service, the online database will be updated reflect that they have been “cleared,” and both the individual and program or activity director will be notified of the change.
If the background check is negative, the standard college process for verification will be followed, during which time the Child Safety Certification online data base will continue to indicate “not clear”. If a determination is made that the individual is disqualified from employment or volunteer service, Child Safety Certification online data base will be updated to indicate “disqualified”. The individual and program or activity director will both be informed of the change in status.
Training Is Required
The College is presently using multiple resources for training on child molestation identification and prevention and its own policies and procedures. The College’s Child Safety Database will record the successful completion of each course, and those seeking certification can access the training through the database during the certification process. Two courses are required for Child Safety Certification. Both are embedded now supported in the Child Safety Database:
Step 1: Safety and Well-Being of Minors Training
Step 2: Protecting Children: Identifying and Reporting Sexual Misconduct
Once both courses are complete and the background check is cleared, the individual will be eligible to work or volunteer in Smith programs or activities for minors. Certification is valid for three years from completion of the background check.
Smith students who are volunteering with outside host community service organizations are expected to take both Training #1 (The Safety and Well Being of Minors) and Training #2 (Protecting Children: Identifying and Reporting Sexual Misconduct) (Smith College Policies and Procedures).
Individuals who are not required to be Child Safety Certified but are interested in taking any of the courses in the interests of building an informed, proactive, and safety-conscious community are invited to do so. You will have to create an account for yourself (see above) but do not have to print the form for a CORI check. For technical reasons, all persons must be affiliated with a program to access the training modules. If you are not affiliated with a program, select "Unafilliated Students, Staff and Volunteers" as your program to begin the training process. Once you've created your account, choose "Programs" in the maroon navigation bar and select your program from the dropdown menu.
No person required to take the training will be allowed unsupervised access to children until the required training is completed.