Becoming a 4-H Youth Development Volunteer
University of Illinois Extension takes great pride in the quality of its adult leadership. Being a registered volunteer in the 4-H youth development program is a privilege, not a right. The quality of the program and the safety of our youth members require that selection of volunteers be taken seriously, and that the organization work to recruit the best possible volunteers. There is no sure way to detect a child molester or perpetrator of any kind of child abuse in advance of attempted or actual abuse.
Procedures for becoming a 4-H youth development volunteer:
- Prospective volunteer completes and submits an Extension Volunteer Application to the Extension Unit.
- The application processor reviews the volunteer application form and requests information from references. Applicants should provide names of three references – one personal character, one work-related, and one a family member. Two positive references need to be completed and returned on each applicant.
- The volunteer interviewer schedules and conducts an interview with the prospective volunteer.
- The prospective volunteer completes the Authorization for Background Check Form. This is done through the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Child Abuse and Tracking System (CANTS). The Extension Unit will receive notification of the check. CANTS checks must be repeated/renewed every 5 years before reappointment can be made to any volunteer role.
- Prospective volunteer applicant name will be checked on the Registered Sex Offenders List which is on the State of Illinois website. Checks should be done at the time of initial application and at least every 5 years before reappointment.
- For those volunteers who intend to drive youth as part of their Extension volunteer role, verification of a valid driver’s license and proof of auto liability insurance must be provided. A copy of the driver’s license and proof of insurance card needs to be placed as documentation in the volunteer file. Drivers should be at least 21 years of age. This check should be done annually with new copies of license and insurance card made and placed in the volunteer file.
- The prospective volunteer completes the Conviction Information Name Check Request for Volunteers. This is processed through the Illinois State Police. The Extension Unit will receive notification of the check.
- The applicant is promptly informed on the decision of the personnel committee, and if accepted, may then enroll as a 4-H volunteer using the 4-H DMS computer enrollment system. Once the new volunteer is enrolled, they should attend the Volunteer Orientation Session and acknowledge the Volunteer Behavior Guidelines.
- A volunteer file is established on the prospective volunteer. It will contain: the application, CANTS report, conviction check, Registered Sex Offender Check, proof of driver’s license and insurance, references and notes from the interview. This will be kept in a locked file in the Extension Office.
- Only authorized persons may see the contents. All persons involved in the volunteer screening process and with access to personal information will be informed of the importance of confidentiality. Each will sign a form agreeing to protect the privacy of individuals.
- All information on applicants and why they are accepted or rejected, as a youth program volunteer is kept confidential. Only the volunteer personnel committee will be involved in discussing questionable applicants.
- The volunteer personnel committee looks over each file. In cases where suitability of the applicant is questioned, the committee decides whether to accept or reject the volunteer.
New volunteers should not be enrolled until the above process is completed.
Forms and information found on the Illinois 4-H website: www.4-h.illinois.edu
Extension Volunteer Application
Authorization for Background Check
Conviction Information Name Check Request for Volunteers
University of Illinois Extension Volunteer Risk Management and Background Screening Policies and Procedures
Volunteer Behavior Guidelines