CORI Confusion & Sometimes Disappointment

With autumn come misunderstandings and frustrations about the authorization of Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks to protect some of our society’s most vulnerable people.

PMD requires authorization of CORI for recipient charities whose policies mandate them, OR PMD conducts its own CORI checks when the people served are elderly, disabled, and/or under age 18.

If you think that you will someday volunteer with PMD on a project serving people who are elderly, disabled, and/or under age 18, I strongly recommend that you proactively complete the authorization form and submit it to me at PMD with a copy of your government-issued photo identification so that this time-consuming step will not impede your future participation.

If you are unsure whether you already have a CORI check on file with a recipient charity or PMD, then quickly contact me so that I can look up what’s been filed. Several people are unable to participate in PMD projects every Sunday before Thanksgiving due to their confusion over what is required. For example, if you previously authorized a CORI check for Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly or another charity to volunteer for a PMD project assisting that charity, then you are only able to participate in Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly or the other charity’s volunteer activities and may still need to authorize PMD to conduct a separate CORI since the laws specifically prohibit disclosure of CORI between agencies.

Background: A decade ago, the state legislature mandated that charities serving elderly and/or disabled people must screen all potential volunteers by conducting a CORI check prior to acceptance. Before this (and legislated again in 2002), charities were already required to do so if there was potential for unmonitored access to children under 18.

Then in June 2005, new regulations required collection of additional information (height, weight, eye color, hair color, birth place, copy of government-issued photo identification, etc.) in addition to name and date of birth to verify a potential volunteer’s identity. Although providing social security numbers remains optional, it is a more reliable way to ensure that the information accessed belongs to you and not someone with a similar name and same birthday. PMD follows the laws specifically mandating confidentiality of this sensitive information.

More information about CORI can be found online.

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