MENTOR Celebrates National Crime Prevention Month with Success of SafetyNET Program
SafetyNET program, sponsored by LifeLock, protects countless numbers of children
Alexandria, VA — MENTOR applauds the National Crime Prevention Council for making October the official month, known as National Crime Prevention Month, for recognizing and celebrating the practice of crime prevention, while promoting awareness of important issues such as victimization, volunteerism and creating safer, more caring communities. MENTOR has seen first-hand how critical it is to be prepared with the right tools to prevent the wrong people from connecting with America's children.
A critical prevention tool in MENTOR's stable of resources is SafetyNET. SafetyNET allows mentoring organizations to conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks on potential mentors, using the FBI's master criminal record database, which includes records on approximately 45 million Americans who have committed criminal offenses. These records include state criminal data, as well as federal offenses. SafetyNET operations are generously sponsored by LifeLock, the leader in identity theft protection.
In 2003, Congress passed a criminal background check pilot program as part of the PROTECT Act. The program is the culmination of several years of advocacy work, which was undertaken because the available criminal background check systems were often cumbersome, expensive and inaccessible. The SafetyNET program is the precursor to what MENTOR hopes will be a permanent system for obtaining criminal background checks on volunteers who work with children.
"MENTOR is proud to be executing the SafetyNET nationwide pilot that has helped protect countless children in youth-serving organizations," said Tonya Wiley, chief administrative officer of MENTOR. "Nearly 65,000 FBI fingerprint checks have been conducted through the PROTECT Act pilot over the past five years, and 6.1 percent of potential volunteers were found to have criminal records of concern - more than 2,000 individuals."
"Until the SafetyNET pilot program was launched, it was very difficult for mentoring organizations to determine criminal records of individuals across state lines. LifeLock's commitment to safety for all Americans, especially our most vulnerable children, is unwavering," said Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock. "Sponsoring the operations for SafetyNET is something we simply had to do. We are honored to be celebrating the success of this momentous program during National Crime Prevention Month and look forward to its continued success."
The SafetyNET process is simple. A mentoring organization applies to MENTOR through an online application, which is posted at http://www.mentoring.org/safetynet. The cost for the FBI fingerprint check is $18. The current response time averages five business days from the date MENTOR receives the background check request.
The SafetyNET pilot will continue until January 31, 2010. MENTOR, along with LifeLock and other supporters, is advocating for and working with Congress on legislation that would create a permanent successor to SafetyNET (H.R. 5606 and S. 2756).
MENTOR is the lead champion for youth mentoring in the United States. An estimated 17 million children in America need and want mentors. MENTOR helps kids in need through building: a capacity of mentoring programs nationwide; quality for mentoring in general (through standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools); and capital (MENTOR helps the mentoring movement raise funds to continue its critical work). MENTOR works closely with State Mentoring Partnerships and more than 4,600 mentoring programs throughout the country, serving more than three million children. Founded in 1991, MENTOR is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
LifeLock, Inc. (www.lifelock.com) is an industry leader in proactive identity theft protection. Since 2005, LifeLock has been providing consumers with the tools and confidence they need to help protect themselves from identity theft. The company has a strong focus on educating consumers and working with law enforcement and elected officials to better understand the increasing threats of identity theft. A multiple award-winning organization, LifeLock has been recognized by the American Business Awards as Best Overall Company, by AlwaysOn to the Top Global Company 250 list and most recently by Arizona Corporate Excellence as Arizona's Fastest Growing Company.