Participant safety is a top priority for Destination Imagination and its affiliates, and we want every team member to have the safest possible experience. We cannot do this alone, but by working together with you, we can help make each student’s experience a safe one.
- The activities of each team must be supervised by at least one adult Team Manager (preferably two) with a completed background check and trained in safety measures.
- Everyone working with a team must understand acceptable boundaries and behaviors, and the actions that are necessary should these be broken.
- Parents and guardians should be aware of their child’s team activities.
Parental involvement is important for team members’ safety, and every parent and guardian is encouraged to become involved with their child’s team within the Interference rules. They can serve as a Team Manager, or help with the team’s activities. They can drive team members to meetings and events, or contribute supplies or snacks. Often, it simply means being present as a supportive observer without interfering with the team’s work.
Parents must remember that one key learning aspect of Destination Imagination is letting the team members complete their project on their own. Parents are welcome to attend and observe team meetings, but they must not offer suggestions on how to solve the Team Challenge, or work on any element of the team’s solution.
For more details and a downloadable handout for parents, please visit the Youth Protection Policy page on the Destination Imagination website.
Background Checks for Team Managers
All Team Managers, and Assistant Team Managers who are 18 years of age or older, must submit to a background check. There are two ways in which Team Managers can satisfy this requirement:
- The school or organization sponsoring the team can apply to DI headquarters to conduct their own background checks.
- DI can arrange for Team Managers to be screened by Sterling Volunteers.
Note: Local DI coordinators should not add themselves as a Team Manager unless they actually manage that team. It isn’t necessary to do this to receive copies of the emails we send to Team Managers, because when we need to contact Team Managers, we always try to include the coordinators. Adding people who are neither Team Managers nor Assistant Team Managers could involve unnecessary orders for background checks.
Option 1: Background check performed by the sponsoring school or organization
New Hampshire law (RSA 183:13-a) requires every school administrative unit, school district, or chartered public school to complete a criminal history check on all employees, and to adopt a policy designating certain categories of volunteers as “designated volunteers” who are also required to undergo a criminal history check.
The recommendation of the New Hampshire State Police is that if a volunteer could be left alone with a child, the volunteer should undergo a complete background check. Accordingly, most school districts have defined a designated volunteer to be any volunteer who meets with students on a one-on-one basis, or who works with students in the absence of a staff member. Some districts have specifically listed DI Team Managers among the categories of volunteers who must be screened.
Most private schools and youth organizations also have policies in place requiring employees and volunteers to submit to a criminal history check.
If a local coordinator selects this option for a team, the sponsoring school or organization will need to complete
be responsible for conducting a criminal history check for the Team Managers. This background check should be completed before the first team meeting, which sometimes takes place before the Team Managers have been registered with Destination Imagination or NH-DI. That is why we feel this option is preferable to asking NH-DI to arrange for the required background checks.
Option 2: Background check provided by DI
If for some reason the local DI coordinator cannot arrange for Team Managers to undergo the required background checks, they can ask DI to handle it instead.
We will be using Sterling Volunteers to conduct these background checks. Sterling Volunteers (formerly known as Verified Volunteers) provides volunteer screening and background checks for many nonprofits and service organizations. In New Hampshire, the list includes FIRST, Special Olympics NH, Southern New Hampshire University, and many other organizations.
If the local DI coordinator selects this option for a team, the Team Managers will receive an email from TheAdvocates@sterlingvolunteers.com, asking them to visit the Verified Volunteers website to create an account.
If a Team Manager already has an account, because they were previously screened by another organization that also uses Verified Volunteers, they should log into their account and bring up their account profile. In the My Screening Checklist section of the account profile, there will be a link labeled “Find organizations and share my background check.” Clicking on this link will bring up a page on which volunteers can look for participating organizations. The list for New Hampshire will include Destination Imagination – New Hampshire, along with a button to share the results of their earlier background screening with us.
If a Team Manager has not been previously screened by Sterling Volunteers, they will need to create a new account, provide the information needed to conduct their background screening, and enter their credit card information to pay for the screening.
The cost of screening varies depending on the volunteer’s place of residence. Many state and county courts charge a fee to obtain criminal history information, and this records access fee is passed along at cost. In New Hampshire, the fee varies depending on the county, but New Hampshire residents should expect to pay $25 to $35 for screening.
If the fee for the background check would be a financial hardship, Team Managers should contact us at email@example.com.