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NYC Background Check Procedures

Each region works with different school districts who have varying rules and regulations for volunteering with minors. Local staff and screeners must be aware of the procedures for region-specific background checks. 

This article describes the New York City GoPass fingerprinting process and the responsibilities of screening staff. 

GoPass is a partnership between the Department of Education and NYC Service that administers background checks for volunteers working with vulnerable populations. GoPass background checks refresh indefinitely, meaning volunteers who were previously cleared can be made ineligible for service again if a new flag comes up on their background check. 

All NYC mentors must be fingerprinted via the GoPass system. Applicants will fill out an electronic background check release form that asks them to provide their Social Security number, past addresses, and other information required by GoPass. This form is sent via Sign Now to the email the applicant used when completing their online Mentor Application. 

Creating Volunteer PETS Profiles:

PETS is the DOE database which houses the personal information required for volunteer background checks. The Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator will send applicants the Background Check Release form via SignNow. Once the Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator  receives a completed Background Check Release form from an applicant, they will create a profile in PETS for them. To create a profile for a volunteer, visit the DOE PETS system and follow these steps:

  1. Log in with the team user name and password. It is a shared account and only one person can be logged in at a time.
  2. Under Manage Roster, select Add Volunteer.
  3. From the background check consent form, enter the volunteer’s last name and SSN twice for confirmation and click Continue.
  4. Populate all required fields (using the date MM/DD/YYYY format for the date of birth). Be sure to use the email that is on their Salesforce application and not an alternate one.
    1. If the fields are already populated, this means there is already a profile for the applicant; however, the applicant still needs an iMentor project added to our roster in order for us to track their eligibility status.
  5. Click New Project at the bottom of the page.
  6. On the Project drop down list, select the letter of the applicant’s last name.
  7. Under Work Title, select Volunteer.
  8. Under Roster Status, select Active.

**We may add volunteers in a status of “Inactive”  over the winter holidays. This is because volunteer nominations expire in about 30 days. Adding the applicant as Inactive will keep GoPass’s automated nomination email from going out to the mentor.

  1. For Start Date, populate the applicant’s orientation date (MM/DD/YYYY).
  2. For End Date, populate the end date as 01/01/2024. We will be extending that end date ASAP-stay tuned!
  3. Under Action, click Add.
  4. Click Save at the very bottom of the page. The nomination will not go through until you click Save!
    1. If you receive a message that says, “A nomination is already in progress,” try adding the project again once the applicant has been fingerprinted. If this is still unsuccessful, contact the NYC Volunteer Screening Manager and/or Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator. They may need to get in touch with GoPass to confirm this volunteer’s background check can be processed normally.

Background Check Results:

Once applicants have been fingerprinted (the applicant will inform the screener), the screener who owns the application will update their status on Salesforce to Fingerprinted.

After applicants clear the GoPass background check, their status will be updated to “Background Check Approved” through the PETS status upload. This upload occurs every 2-3 business days (primarily Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings) and refreshes the GoPass eligibility of all mentors in Salesforce.

If a volunteer is under additional investigation, the NYC Volunteer Screening Manager and/or Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator will be notified by GoPass and will update the volunteer's status manually to Pending Investigation. The NYC Volunteer Screening Manager and/or Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator checks on volunteers with no change in status every other day and will follow up with GoPass on their status periodically. The school district or background check vendor does not share confidential background check-related information with iMentor staff. All communications regarding an applicant's investigation stay between the district and the volunteer, unless the volunteer chooses to share any details with iMentor or discloses it as asked for in the application. For more details on investigations, visit thPending Investigation article.

If an applicant with prior DOE fingerprinting has not been screened specifically by GoPass, they will still need to schedule a Go Pass fingerprinting appointment via Identogo (which are fingerprinting locations that operate all over the tri-state area and work with iMentor and Go Pass) . This includes employees of the DOE or its vendors (like iMentor) who have already gone through the employee fingerprinting process. This is because volunteers and employees are screened under different laws that require the fingerprints and volunteer data to be held in different databases. Generally, you can tell whether someone has been DOE vs. GoPass fingerprinted based on whether their PETS profile includes a picture; GoPass is the only database that stores volunteer photos

District contacts:

Go Pass – DOE [email protected]