SafeScreener helps Illinois Park Districts Stay Safe and well Staffed with IAPD and ISP-Compliant Background Checks!

To ensure the safety of community members who take part in park district activities as well as park district staff, the State of Illinois implemented legislation 70 ILCS 1205/8-23. This comprehensive statute sets forth specific criteria regarding background checks for individuals seeking employment or volunteer opportunities within the park district system of Illinois. The purpose is to identify and potentially disqualify individuals with certain criminal offenses from serving in these roles to facilitate a safer environment for park visitors and employees. Applicants must agree to allow park districts to submit their personal identifying information, such as name, date of birth, and social security number, to the Illinois State Police. The State Police Bureau of Identification then processes the data through the CHIRP (Criminal History Information Response Process) database, flagging any potential concerns related to criminal history.

Applying for summer jobs at the local park district.

Park District Job Fair

Criteria for Disqualification

The legislation is explicit about the types of offenses that render an applicant ineligible for employment or volunteering within park districts. These offenses include serious crimes such as first-degree murder, Class X felonies, and a range of offenses detailed in the Criminal Code of 1961 and the Criminal Code of 2012, particularly focusing on crimes involving minors. Drug offenses also play a significant role in the assessment, with certain types leading to disqualification for a specified period post-sentence completion. Below, you’ll find an outtake of subsection (c) and subsection (d) that detail the disqualifying offenses.

Subsection (c)

No park district shall knowingly employ a person who has been convicted, or adjudicated a delinquent minor, for committing attempted first degree murder or for committing or attempting to commit first degree murder, a Class X felony, or any one or more of the following criminal offenses: (i) those defined in Sections 11-1.20, 11-1.30, 11-1.40, 11-1.50, 11-1.60, 11-6, 11-9, 11-14.3, 11-14.4, 11-15, 11-15.1, 11-16, 11-17, 11-18, 11-19, 11-19.1, 11-19.2, 11-20, 11-20.1, 11-20.1B, 11-20.3, 11-21, 11-30 (if convicted of a Class 4 felony), 12-7.3, 12-7.4, 12-7.5, 12-13, 12-14, 12-14.1, 12-15, and 12-16 of the Criminal Code of 1961  1 or the Criminal Code of 2012; (ii) (blank); (iii) (blank); (iv) (blank); and (v) any offense committed or attempted in any other state or against the laws of the United States, which, if committed or attempted in this State, would have been punishable as one or more of the foregoing offenses. Further, no park district shall knowingly employ a person who has been found to be the perpetrator of sexual or physical abuse of any minor under 18 years of age pursuant to proceedings under Article II of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. 2 No park district shall knowingly employ a person for whom a criminal background investigation has not been initiated.

Subsection (d)

No park district shall knowingly employ a person who has been convicted of the following drug offenses, other than an offense set forth in subsection (c), until 7 years following the end of the sentence imposed for any of the following offenses: (i) those defined in the Cannabis Control Act,  3 except those defined in Sections 4(a), 4(b), 4(c), 5(a), and 5(b) of that Act;  4 (ii) those defined in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act;  5 (iii) those defined in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act;  6 and (iv) any offense committed or attempted in any other state or against the laws of the United States, which, if committed or attempted in this State, would have been punishable as one or more of the foregoing offenses. For purposes of this paragraph, “sentence” includes any period of supervision or probation that was imposed either alone or in combination with a period of incarceration.

Limitations and Best Practices

The Illinois State Police Database is limited to criminal data reported by jurisdictions within the state. Fortunately, most Illinois park districts voluntarily exceed the statute’s requirements, by partnering with a credible background screening agency such as SafeScreener. The importance of extending the search beyond Illinois borders cannot be overstated. While applicants typically reside near the park district they’re applying to work for, there are roughly 250 Illinois municipalities on or very near the state border. It’s safe to say that a percentage of applicants will live across state lines. While many other applicants have resided outside the state in recent years. These out-of-state jurisdictions can be just as vital in locating serious criminal records violations against children. At SafeScreener we always encourage our clients to layer in additional research such as a Social Security Trace which can reveal residential history and then we check corresponding court jurisdictions such as county and federal courts. As a third layer of protection for our clients, we run each name and date of birth through our national criminal database and sex offender registry search which casts a broad net to locate additional criminal records and sex offenses that occurred outside of Illinois and even outside of jurisdictions the applicant resided in. It’s important to note that national criminal record database searches do NOT contain all records from all jurisdictions. These proprietary databases are cost-effective and important tools to locate records and “pointer data” that allow researchers to find cases that may have been missed by traditional court searches.

SafeScreener can help!

By partnering with SafeScreener, your park district can…

go green:

  • SafeScreener will make the applicant background screening process paperless and nearly effortless for the park district and the applicant using two very simple methods of initiating a background check.
    • Our Quick Link Portal allows you to place a link anywhere on your website or in an existing process, ATS, etc. The secure information entry page will appear for the applicant to enter their data with no action needed by your staff. Example: Start your background check here
    • Our Quick App Email allows any authorized user to initiate a background check by entering just an applicant’s name and email address as seen in this short QuickApp Demo Video.

save some green:

  • Zero set-up fees, zero monthly fees, and zero minimum requirements to start and maintain a SafeScreener account means you only pay for the background checks we process for you.

get exactly what you need.

  • Our core background screening packages will provide you with everything you need to meet IPDA and Illinois State standards. Additional a la carte options such as Education Verification, Past Employment Verifications, Professional License Verifications, References, and more can be added as needed for more extensive background checks on higher-level positions.

be compliant with state and federal laws.

  • Keep your compliance on track with our guidance and built-in compliance tools. We help automate State and Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act Compliance by providing…
    • Paperless authorization and disclosure forms for the applicant to digitally sign before the background check.
    • “Active” authorization forms automatically include any required verbiage to comply with the state law where the applicant resides.

Receive true customer support.

  • No call centers and no AI voices to frustrate you when you need assistance. You communicate directly with the experts who are working on your background checks.

Be confident in the security of your data.

  • SafeScreener complies with the PCI DSS and E13PA Compliance. When you or your applicant submits sensitive information via our user interface, your information is protected both online and offline.

At SafeScreener we’ve been making background screening simple and cost effective for over twenty years! Have questions? We’re here to help! Call us anytime at 312-985-5010 x113 or email

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