1.A.2.f. Background checks


Policy and procedures that ensure that appropriate background checks (due diligence practices) are conducted for all staff who will have direct and regular interaction with residents.









This rule is only required for Level IV recovery residences. It is recommended for Level IIs and IIIs. It is not applicable to Level Is.


Recovery residences that serve the most vulnerable populations (level IVs) must have staffing policies and procedures in place that reflect their needs. While this rule is only required for level IVs, it is recommended that level IIs and IIIs have due diligence policies and procedures regarding direct support staff.

The purpose of this standard is NOT to further raise a barrier to leadership or employment. People in recovery often have a criminal history as a result of their substance use disorder. Lived experience is an asset for direct support staff. Knowing a staff person’s criminal history informs the staffing and workforce development plan. Some staff may need additional support and structure as part of appropriate supervision. For example, a staff person who was convicted for theft a year ago may need great supervision and oversight if he/she/they are responsible for collecting rent.

NARR does not dictate what background check policies should be in place. The standard only requires that a level IV recovery residence has background check policies and procedures regarding direct support staff. This often includes employees, contractors and/or volunteers. It may identify convictions of concern and what actions will be taken if a particular criminal history is identified, which may include but not limited to: not hiring, limit their role and responsibilities or hiring with added supervision or support.

Note, level IVs are most likely licensed by the State, and State law(s) may require background checks or restrictions, which is also covered under NARR Standard 3.0 – 1.A.2.d. Compliance.

Although this rule is specific to direct support staff in level IV recovery residences, some providers ask about criminal history as a part of their new resident application. This information may or may not play a role in the screening process, but it can information future workforce development (NARR Standards 1.D.10.c.; 1.D.13.a.; 3.G.24.b.; and 3.G.25.a.) and data driven performance (NARR standard 1.A.4.a.).

Recovery residences serving the re-entry population may need to adapt their support to best serve this population. Given the percentage of persons with substance use issues that have a criminal background, most recovery residences accept persons with a history of criminal justice involvement.


  • Is this a Level IV recovery residence?

  • Is there a written policy and procedure that establishes a standardized process for background checks for staff who have direct and regular interaction with residents?


  • Policy and procedure


  • NARR Standard 3.0

  • NARR Standard 3.0 Compendium

  • Learn more about background checks

  • How does this apply to my accreditation application?

Course Syllabus

  • NARR 3.0.| 1.A.2.f. Background checks