Children First: Protecting Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America has had a screening process for leaders in place for many years, including its standards for leadership, developed in 1972.

Choctaw Area Scout Executive Noel Evans said the latest decision, to use an internet-based criminal background checking system, takes advantage of today's technology.

"We just feel like it's our responsibility in the Scouting program to make sure when young people join the program, that they have an opportunity to get the most from the program in a very safe environment," said Evans.

And it's not hard to imagine why the Scouts would utilize every resource possible. The Choctaw Area Council alone has 800 volunteers who work with some 5,700 young men involved in the program.

The application forms asks the individual for permission to run a background check. If it should reveal a match in a criminal database, the applicant would receive a copy of the information and may dispute the findings, following the Boy Scouts' procedures.

The expanded background checks begin April 1.