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Chicago Background Check Procedures

Each region that iMentor serves and the corresponding school district(s) have varying rules and regulations for volunteering with minors. Thus, local staff and assigned screeners must be aware of the procedures for region-specific background checks. This article describes the Chicago Background Check process and the responsibilities of screening staff. 

Accurate Biometrics:

Accurate Biometrics is an independent chain of storefronts providing background checks against government agency criminal history databases. These fingerprint-based criminal history checks may disclose unreported arrests and convictions that the applicant may not have disclosed in their application.

CPS Clearance Notifications:

The Background Checks team at Chicago Public Schools (see below) will send iMentor notification emails to the Chicago Regional Screening Manager. Background check status options are clear, denied, or pending investigation.  Notifications are sent on a rolling basis.

If the applicant’s status is clear, the Chicago Regional Screening Manager will manually mark the applicant as Background Check Approved in Salesforce.  

If background check results are taking longer than normal, it could be due to routine discrepancies between federal and state agencies, additional review by CPS’s internal Background Check Committee, or a manual search called a name search.  

If the applicant’s status requires additional documentation, the applicant needs to provide specific information requested by CPS. In this instance, both the applicant and iMentor will be notified. Screeners will then notify applicants about CPS’s request for additional information. iMentor will never receive specifics regarding the nature of any investigation to maintain confidentiality.

Once the applicant and iMentor are notified of the investigation, the applicant has up to 10 business days to provide the requested information. Applicants should reach out to our district contact at [email protected] or to the general CPS Background Checks line at (773) 553-6503. CPS will sometimes grant extensions to mentors who need more time to gather the requested documentation if they request it within the 10-day timeframe. If an applicant does NOT respond within the 10-day timeframe, their file will be closed by CPS. CPS will sometimes reopen a file for an applicant if they reach out directly and request this at [email protected]. If an applicant is no longer responsive to CPS and the screener, the applicant can go through the pre-deadline and deadline protocol. The screener will let the applicant know upon with-drawl (whether self or staff with-drawl) that in order to come back and continue with screening , they will need to contact CPS to see if they can have their file re-opened with an extension date.

While iMentor covers the cost of fingerprinting, volunteers are responsible for all costs related to a CPS investigation. 

Once a volunteer provides additional documentation, their file is reviewed by the CPS Background Check Committee, and they make the final determination whether the applicant should be cleared to work with a student. 

If an applicant is ultimately denied clearance to volunteer with a CPS student after their investigation, they have another 10 business days to appeal the committee’s decision. 

As mentioned, iMentor does NOT receive any information about investigations or other details about an applicant’s background check; we are only told whether an applicant is clear, pending, or denied. 

Background Check links for applicants:

Accurate Biometrics locations

Fingerprinting Background and Investigation Authorization and Release form--Applicants should bring this form to Accurate Biometrics so that iMentor will get their results. It also ensures that the applicant will not have to pay for his or her fingerprinting.