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5000 DFPS Volunteer Policy

VCE December 2019

Volunteers may work directly for DFPS or through a cooperative agreement with DFPS.

Non-paid interns, while sometimes bearing additional responsibilities through the agreed position, are (for the purposes of this policy) considered volunteers.

DFPS employees may also be volunteers if the services they provide are performed outside of their assigned responsibilities and work hours and are strictly on a voluntary basis.

Types of volunteers include:

  •  Interns (see 6100 Student Interns).

  •  Youth volunteers (see 6200 Youth Volunteers).

  •  Direct service volunteers (see 5100 Direct Service Volunteers).

  •  Court ordered community service volunteers (see 5320 Court Ordered Community Service Volunteers).

  •  Volunteer groups, as well as individuals, who have not been court ordered to volunteer (see 5200 Volunteer Groups).

5100 Direct Service Volunteers

VCE December 2019

Direct service volunteers interact one-on-one with older adults, children, and people with disabilities in one of four ways:

  •  Acting as a companion to the elderly.

  •  Assisting with transportation (see 5900 Approving Volunteers to Transport Clients).

  •  Delivering medication to a homebound adult.

  •  Acting as a sitter for a child in the hospital.

5110 Requirements and Training

VCE December 2019

Direct service volunteers must be 18 years or older, clear required background checks (see 7000 Background Check Procedure), and complete online trainings before performing any volunteer activities.

Links to the online trainings are located on the DFPS Volunteer Trainings webpage. Upon completion of the required online trainings, direct service volunteers sign Form 0249 Acknowledgement of Completion of Training and email the form to the local community engagement specialist.

5200 Volunteer Groups

VCE October 2016

Community based groups such as a civic club, advocacy, student, or church group are valued community resources, and often volunteer as a group to perform specific activities or assigned tasks for DFPS clients such as charity drives or holiday events.

Under certain circumstances, it is not necessary to process each member of a group separately on individual volunteer application forms.

A Volunteer Group Project Application may be used if:

  •  a one-time event is being held (the event does not re-occur on a regular basis or only occurs once annually);

  •  staff-to-client ratio at the event is one-to-one; or

  •  access to clients or confidential information is minimal (gift drive or partner sponsored fundraiser).

The group or activity must always be supervised by a designated DFPS staff person, and the group must designate a lead volunteer for liaison and coordination purposes. Safety and confidentiality of the client is paramount when selecting appropriate activities.

When submitting a group project application, the following rules apply:

  •  The community engagement specialist (CE), in consultation with the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE), must determine the appropriateness of using a group application.

  •  Group involvement must be processed on Form 0256 Volunteer Group Project Agreement.

  •  The organization must keep an updated list of volunteers that contains current contact information and is verified by the organization.

  •  Hours contributed by a group must be recorded on a DFPS volunteer time sheet under group registration according to DFPS procedures and sent to the appropriate community engagement staff at the end of each month.

Volunteers processed under the group application procedure are not considered fully registered volunteers by DFPS’s insurance carrier, and therefore are not covered by DFPS’s volunteer insurance policy. Group applicants may choose to arrange private insurance coverage, if desired, or may choose to be processed individually (see 8530 Insurance and Accident Reporting).

5210 Ongoing Collaborative Group Efforts

VCE October 2016

Ongoing collaborative efforts with groups who may have repeated exposure to clients or confidential information will not be eligible for the group project application.

Additionally, each individual will be required to comply with all DFPS background check procedures (see 7000 Background Check Procedures) unless otherwise statutorily authorized (such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and so on).

DFPS must assign a staff member as a liaison to the group to assist in event planning and the completion of necessary paperwork.

5300 Types of Services Performed by Volunteers

VCE October 2016

Service opportunities for volunteers are not limited to the following examples. Volunteers working directly for DFPS may:

  •  serve as board, committee, or task force members;

  •  develop and implement special projects related to administrative and program functions and service delivery;

  •  serve as interpreters, community resource development coordinators, resource locators, public speakers, information and referral providers, and community mobilizers on behalf of DFPS or clients; or

  •  perform direct or indirect services for clients within the policies and standards of a specific program area.

5310 Types of Services Not Appropriate for Volunteers

VCE December 2019

Volunteers may not perform duties such as case analysis, decisions regarding case disposition, or appropriateness of treatment plans. These duties are specifically the responsibility of DFPS-paid staff.

Hospital sitter volunteers are not permitted to volunteer in psychiatric hospitals.


A retired DFPS caseworker offers to serve as a volunteer case reviewer. This is not an appropriate volunteer job (regardless of the volunteer’s experience or training) as a case reviewer makes a determination as to the appropriateness of case plans. A volunteer could, however, check facts or gather other information to assist the case reviewer.

5320 Court Ordered Community Service Volunteers

VCE December 2019

Volunteer supervisors must use good judgment in assigning tasks to court mandated community service volunteers. Supervisors must know what crime the volunteer was convicted of committing in order to place the volunteer in positions where DFPS staff, clients, and other volunteers are protected. It is possible that the nature of a crime will render a volunteer inappropriate for any DFPS programs. DFPS reserves the right to reject volunteers with certain types of convictions.

  •  Questions regarding court mandated community service volunteers must be directed to the regional or district community engagement (CE) specialist, or the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE).

  •  Court mandated community service volunteers are not covered under the volunteer insurance policy.

5400 Inquiries From Potential Volunteers

VCE October 2016

Regional/District management must establish a system and ensure that staff are trained to effectively manage initial inquiries from potential volunteers.

The community engagement specialist and local supervisor (along with the volunteer liaison) should identify a key staff member in each office responsible for volunteer inquiries. It is never appropriate to ask a volunteer to call at a later time. The volunteer liaison in each location is the best candidate to handle inquiries.

5500 Arranging Interviews for Suitable Candidates

VCE October 2016

If the potential volunteer appears to be interested, the staff person handling the inquiry must:

  •  explain the screening process, including the criminal history, central registry, and driver record check;

  •  set up the interview or get in touch with the staff person who will interview the caller;

  •  ask the volunteer to complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application before the interview;

  •  forward, if appropriate, a descriptive DFPS brochure, current newsletter, or DFPS annual report with highlighted sections relevant to the volunteer’s interest, or direct the volunteer to the DFPS internet’s Welcome to Volunteer DFPS page.

5510 Information to Be Provided to the Volunteer During the Interview

VCE October 2016

The topics listed below must be covered during the initial interview:

  •  Brief overview of DFPS, including how the volunteer’s work would relate to the program and DFPS

  •  Volunteer job description

  •  Confidentiality requirements

  •  References, criminal history, central registry, and driver record check requirements

  •  Specific information about time requirements and length of assignment

  •  Expectations

  •  Role of the community engagement specialist (where applicable) and volunteer supervisor

  •  Training requirements

  •  Level of authority the volunteer will be granted

  •  Support systems available to the volunteer

5600 Processing Volunteer Paperwork

VCE October 2016

All volunteers must complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application in its entirety before placement will be considered. Partially completed forms will not be accepted.

For specific activities, the volunteer must complete additional paperwork as indicated below.

Direct Contact with Client or Confidential Information

Volunteers requesting placement where they may either communicate with or come into contact with a client, or have access to any confidential information, must complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application, authorizing a background check. The volunteer will then be considered for registration in accordance with the provisions of 7500 Confidential and Sensitive Information.

Transporting Clients

Volunteers who will transport clients must also complete Form 0250c Volunteer Transportation/Essential Driving Duties, as well as meet the requirements in 5900 Approving Volunteers to Transport Clients.

Access to Computers

Volunteers being granted computer access must be processed as described in 5800 Granting Computer Access to Volunteers after satisfactory background check results have been received.

Youth Volunteers

Youth volunteers require parental permission. See 6200 Youth Volunteers.

For processing all volunteers forms are on the Volunteer Donation Forms page. A checklist to ensure compliance with all applicable policies and procedures when processing a volunteer for placement, can be found in Form 0250 Volunteer Application.

Staff members are required to keep personal information about volunteers confidential, including any information obtained through application or background checks.

While individual members of groups participating in one-time events or ongoing collaborative projects are not required to become registered DFPS volunteers on an individual basis (See 5200 Volunteer Groups), DFPS has the statutory authority to require background checks on group participants at its discretion.

The procedures mentioned in this section may not be used to process:

  •  ride alongs or shadow students (these must be referred to the media specialist for assessment or arrangement);

  •  temporary workers;

  •  contractor volunteers; or

  •  volunteers for external partners who apply through the external partner. (CASA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, etc.)

5700 Volunteer Training

VCE October 2016

When first placed, volunteers must receive job-specific training, whether formal or on the job. When available, volunteers are eligible to receive all the same formal training as a staff person performing the same function depending on availability of funds and training opportunities.

Volunteer training is most effective when it takes place within a climate of mutual respect. Supportive, rather than directive, leadership is most conducive to learning. Training may be conducted by:

  •  the community engagement specialist or volunteer supervisor;

  •  a trainer or qualified staff person; or

  •  an experienced volunteer approved by regional/district management.

5800 Granting Computer Access to Volunteers

VCE October 2016

At times, the job that a volunteer is performing may require computer access. The decision to allow computer access is a very serious one.

Before allowing a volunteer access to a computer, the volunteer’s supervisor must consider:

  •  the length of the volunteer’s commitment to serve;

  •  the volunteer’s attendance record; and

  •  the volunteer’s demonstrated skill in performing standardized procedures, such as data entry.

Volunteers must complete and clear a background check before they are considered for any of the types of computer access. Next, the volunteer supervisor conducts a screening interview specifically for computer access.

During the screening interview, the volunteer supervisor should emphasize to the applicant:

  •  the confidentiality of the information available through a DFPS computer; and

  •  the strict prohibition against using DFPS computer equipment for purposes unrelated to DFPS.

The supervisor should:

  •  require a review of the DFPS security policy with the applicant; and

  •  obtain a copy of Form 4047 Information Security Agreement, completed and signed by the applicant to acknowledge his or her understanding of the information, with specific attention to the policies described in the following sections:

5810 Move, Add, or Remove Change Request

5820 Use of IMPACT by Volunteers

5810 Move, Add, or Remove Change Request

VCE October 2016

The Move, Add, Change, and Remove (eMAC) Request for volunteers must be approved by the volunteer’s supervisor to obtain computer access.

The eMAC request form to grant access must not be submitted until satisfactory background check results have been returned.

It is important to create a new eMAC request form to delete access immediately when a volunteer leaves or no longer needs computer access. Choose the option marked “Remove an existing person” and complete as usual.

5820 Use of IMPACT by Volunteers

VCE October 2016

Access to IMPACT may be granted only when it is essential to the performance of the volunteer’s duties and when approved by a supervisor. As with all employees, supervisors must discuss with the volunteer his or her range of responsibility and the fact that information in IMPACT may be accessed on a need-to-know basis only.

Volunteers must not access information regarding any cases to which they are not assigned or for which they do not have a specific assignment-related need. They must not search for information indiscriminately, even as a training exercise.

Supervisors must inform volunteers that audit trails may be used when inappropriate access of information is suspected.

5900 Approving Volunteers to Transport Clients

VCE May 2019

Volunteers may be approved to transport clients on behalf of DFPS only when transporting clients is an essential function of the volunteer position, as described in the DFPS standard volunteer job description.

Child Care Investigation volunteers are prohibited from transporting clients.

DFPS offers excess auto liability insurance for listed volunteers.

Volunteers providing transportation are subject to the same policies and procedures as DFPS employees.

5910 Prerequisites to Transporting Clients on Behalf of DFPS

VCE May 2019

Volunteers may not drive on behalf of DFPS until the requirements below have been completed and the community engagement specialist has confirmation that the volunteer has appropriate insurance coverage.

Volunteers transporting clients on behalf of DFPS must complete:

Form 0250 Volunteer Application

Form 0251 Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement

Form 0250c Volunteer Transportation Acknowledgment.

Volunteers transporting clients must also meet the following requirements:

  •  The volunteer must have a valid driver license and be properly insured for personal liability and property damage.

  •  Any vehicle used on behalf of DFPS must have a valid license plate, a valid inspection sticker, and seat belts.

Volunteers may not transport children under the age of 18 years old, with the following exceptions:

  •  A volunteer may transport a child placed in a kinship or fictive kin placement, if the caregiver approves the transportation and the caregiver accompanies the child.

  •  A volunteer may transport a child when the child’s parent is in a monitor-and-return situation, approves the transportation, and accompanies the child.

  •  A volunteer may transport a child when the volunteer is with an organization operating under a memorandum of understanding with DFPS that allows the organization’s staff and volunteers to transport children, and the child’s caseworker approved the transportation plan in writing.

5920 Driver Record Checks

VCE May 2019

Transportation volunteers follow the same requirements for driving a motor vehicle as a staff members does as per the DFPS Human Resources Manual Chapter 1, Selection (B. Agency Employment Requirements; Driver License and Driver Record Requirements).

The community engagement (CE) specialist sends the driving record check request to the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE) and OVCE sends the information to DFPS Human Resources, who will run the check and send the results to OVCE. OVCE will send the driving record check results to the CE specialist.

Transportation volunteers may not assist with transporting clients until the driving record check is completed, and the clearance is received.

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