Clergy background checks are conducted through Praesidium or Background Check Services by the diocese when there is a new priest called to serve a congregation. The results are sent to the diocese for the bishop’s review. The diocese pays the bill up front and invoices the congregation for which the background check was conducted.

For lay employees, full background checks are not traditionally conducted unless there’s a specific reason: think high-level risk groups here like Executive Director of a daycare. (Read about the laws in Maine for this group in particular here.)

For most employees, we advise the checks be done locally by your church. You may wish to use a vendors such as Secure Search. Additional options for checking backgrounds: Maine Sex Offender Registry (free), Maine Driver Record Check ($7), Maine Criminal Background Check ($31) and the National Sex Offender Registry (free). The congregation pays for any lay employee background screening conducted.  As the information may come in at different times, it is prudent to tell the new hire  that employment is contingent upon the successful completion of the background check process.

In addition to the search, you should also ask your lay employee for a letter or two of recommendation from a substantial source, and you will want them to complete our Safe Church Training.

If you turn up any red flags, priests or wardens can be in touch with the diocesan office to strategize about next steps.

Please direct questions to Teresa Pinney.