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New volunteer screening program improves safety

News Release

New volunteer screening program improves safety

 

Alberta non-profits now have access to new tools to help strengthen the safety and security of the most vulnerable Albertans.

Painting in numbers

Volunteer paints with children

Developed with the input of non-profit voluntary sector stakeholders and police agencies, Alberta Culture and Tourism’s new Volunteer Screening Program will assist non-profit organizations with a range of resources to help reinforce existing volunteer screening practices or establish robust new ones.

“Helping non-profits to provide a safe and secure environment for Alberta youth and other vulnerable clients using the services these organizations provide is a priority. The Volunteer Screening Program adds another layer of scrutiny to volunteer recruitment and screening. The new tools and training resources, available free of charge to all Alberta non-profits, will help organizations develop practices to identify potential risks beyond police information checks.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

Tools and training provided through the program will help organizations conduct a more thorough assessment of potential volunteers from the applications stage through interviews and reference checks to ongoing support, supervision and evaluation. In addition to identifying potential risks, effective screening also helps organizations better match the skills and experiences of volunteers with the right role in the organization.

The Volunteer Screening Program is a unique partnership funded by Alberta Culture and Tourism and administered and delivered by Volunteer Alberta. The program expands upon the existing Volunteer Police Information Check Program with a strong focus on education to support the development and enhancement of volunteer screening and management programs through online resources, learning modules, webinars and workshops.

Funding support for the cost of vulnerable sector police checks for eligible non-profit organizations will continue to be available through the program. A total of $44,000 has also been allocated to fund a limited number of Screening Development Grants. Eligible organizations can apply for a maximum of $2,000 to support efforts to build effective screening programs and practices.

“The Edmonton Police Service and police services across Alberta recognize the importance that volunteerism plays in building strong communities and are proud to work with hundreds of volunteer organizations, Alberta Culture and Tourism and Volunteer Alberta to ensure that our children, seniors and disabled are able to trust those who play such an important role in their lives. Vulnerable Sector Police Information Checks, in addition to other forms of screening, are a critical tool to keep our vulnerable population safe.  The Volunteer Screening Program ensures that Vulnerable Sector Police Information Checks remain an integral part of the volunteer screening process in Alberta, allowing for volunteerism to remain strong and for those who are most vulnerable in our province to remain safe.”

Dave Elaniuk, Manager, Police Information Check Section, Edmonton Police Services

“This resource will be so important to organizations that work with vulnerable people. The most important work we do is screening possible volunteers to ensure the safety of our children and families. The Government of Alberta and Volunteer Alberta are providing the opportunity for organizations to build capacity that will serve our community well.”

Liz O’Neill, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters, Edmonton

Full program details and links to Volunteer Screening Program resources are available online at the Volunteer Alberta website at volunteeralberta.ab.ca/volunteer-screening-program.

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