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Background Check Process

THE LAW

The California Health and Safety Code requires a background check of all applicants, licensees, adult residents, volunteers under certain conditions and employees of community care facilities who have contact with clients. If the California Department of Social Services finds that an individual has been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation, the individual can not work or be present in any community care facility unless they receive a criminal record exemption from the Community Care Licensing Division, Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB). Simply defined, an exemption is a Department authorized written document that "exempts" the individual from the requirement of having a criminal record clearance. CBCB also examines arrest records to determine if there is a possible danger to clients (Health & Safety Code sections 1522, 1568.08, 1569.17, and 1596.871).

How the Background Check is Conducted

When an individual submits fingerprints, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) conducts a background check. If the individual has no criminal history, DOJ will forward a clearance notice to the applicant or licensee and to CBCB. If the individual has a criminal history, DOJ will send a criminal record transcript to CBCB. The transcript will show arrests and convictions. CBCB staff will review the transcript and if the convictions are for crimes that may be exempted, CBCB will send an exemption notification letter to the applicant or licensee and to the individual. The letter explains how to request an exemption and lists the documents/information that must be submitted to request an exemption. The individual may not be present in the facility until an exemption is granted by CBCB.

Child Abuse Central Index (CACI)

The Child Abuse Central Index name check is an additional background check required for individuals associated to any facility that cares for children. This requirement became effective January 1, 1986. Effective January 1, 1999, the Department of Justice now provides CBCB with notification of any subsequent child abuse reports after the initial check.

CRIMINAL RECORD CLEARANCE

When an individual receives a criminal record clearance, he/she may work, reside or volunteer in a licensed facility. The clearance will remain active as long as the individual is associated to a licensed facility. If an individual is disassociated from a facility, he/she must be associated to another facility (or the same facility if they are rehired) within 2 years or he/she will become inactive. If an individual becomes inactive, he/she must be printed and cleared again before working, residing or volunteering in a licensed facility.

A newly printed individual's clearance will be listed on the California Background Clearance Listingfor 30 days. A licensee may verify clearances older than 30 days by calling their local CCLD Regional Office.

Transferring a Clearance

Between State Licensed Facilities or TrustLine Registry:

Active criminal record clearances may be transferred between state licensed facilities or the TrustLine Registry program. If an individual has an active clearance, he/she should not be reprinted. Licensees or license applicants may contact their local CCLD Regional Office to verify the individual's status.

To request a clearance transfer between state licensed facilities, a licensee or license applicant must submit an LIC 9182, Criminal Record Clearance Transfer Request formto their Regional Office. Transfers to more than one facility may be requested on one form. Licensees/license applicants may attach a list of each facility number to which the individual is to be transferred. All clearance transfer requests must be submitted to the Department before the individual, who is subject to the transfer, has client contact or the licensee will be in violation of the law and subject to a $100 civil penalty per day per violation.

Transfers requests from the TrustLine Registry to state licensed facilities must be on the TLR3. Transfers requests from state licensed facilities to the TrustLine Registry must be on the TLR4.

All clearance transfer requests must be submitted to the Department before the individual, who is subject to the transfer, has client contact or the licensee will be in violation of the law and subject to a $100 civil penalty per day per violation. An individual need not wait for a confirmation of the transfer before he/she can begin work or be present in the facility.

Between County Licensed Agencies Or Between State And County Licensed Agencies - Family Child Care, Foster Family Homes and Certified Homes Only:

Active criminal record clearances may be transferred between contracting county licensing agencies and between contracting county licensing agencies and state licensing agencies provided the transfer is within the same licensing category, i.e. FCCH to FCCH and FFH to FFH (certified family homes are defined by the Department of Justice as the same facility type as licensed foster family homes, therefore transfers between FFA certified homes and county licensed foster family homes are allowed). County and state licensing offices can provide specific details and instructions.

CRIMINAL RECORD EXEMPTIONS

Role of the Community Care Licensee or License Applicant

When an applicant or licensee receives an exemption notification letter from CBCB concerning an employee, volunteer or adult resident, he/she must decide whether to request the exemption for that individual. If an exemption is desired, the licensee must assist the individual by mailing all exemption documentation to CBCB. If the licensee does not wish to pursue the exemption, and subsequently terminates the employee or removes the non-client adult resident,the individualmay request an exemption on his/her own behalf. A person seeking an exemption on their own behalfmay not be present in any community care facility until an exemption is approved by CBCB.

What Convictions Require an Exemption?

All convictions other than minor traffic violations, including misdemeanors, felonies and convictions that occurred a long time ago require an exemption. However, individuals convicted of serious crimes such as robbery, sexual battery, child abuse, elder or dependant adult abuse, rape, arson or kidnapping are not eligible for an exemption.

The Department of Social Services is prohibited by law from granting exemptions to individuals convicted of certain crimes. For a complete list of crimes for which the Department is prohibited from granting an exemption you may click here.

To request an exemption the following items must be submitted:

  • A written request from the licensee/applicant on behalf of the individual.
  • A detailed description of what the individual will be doing at the facility
  • A written request from the affected individual on his/her own behalf if the licensee chooses not to request an exemption and terminates the individual from employment after receiving notice from the Department abouth the individual's crimninal history.
  • A copy of the signed Criminal Record Statement (LIC-508) that was completed at the time of hire.
  • A written statement signed by the individual describing the events surrounding each conviction including the approximate date, what happened, why it happened, and any other information he/she feels is important about the crime. The individual shall also address what he/she has done or how his/her life has changed to prevent him/her from committing this type of offense again.
  • Documentation (Minute Order, court ordered Judgment of Conviction or a letter from the Probation Officer) that the individual's current or last period of probation is/was informal (optional).
  • Written verification of any training, classes, courses, treatment or counseling sessions completed.
  • Three signed character reference statements including the telephone number and address of the person writing the reference. Character references must be current and can not be from the individual's relatives or family members nor from employees associated with the licensed facility. The character reference letters must be dated. References must be on a reference statement form (LIC 301E).
  • The individual's current mailing address and telephone number.
  • A copy of all police reports involving the crime(s) for which the individual was convicted, or a letter from law enforcement stating that a report no longer exists.

Deadline for Exemptions

All requested exemption documents must be received by CBCB no later than 45 days from the date of the exemption notification letter. If documentation is not received by the deadline, the case will be closed.

If an exemption is requested, it will take at least 75 days to process.

Notification of Decision

The applicant or licensee seeking the exemption will be notified in writing of CBCB's decision. With individual exemption requests, the individual seeking the exemption will be notified.

Right to Appeal

If an exemption is denied, the individual may request an appeal in writing. The appeal must be received by the Department of Social Services no later than 15 days from the date of the denial notification letter. Appeals received after the deadline will not be considered.

Transferring an Exemption

Between State Licensed Facilities Or TrustLine Registry:

Active criminal record exemptions may be transferred between state licensed facilities or the TrustLine Registry program. If an individual has an active exemption, he/she should not be reprinted. Requiring the individual to be re-fingerprinted will only delay an exemption transfer. Licensees or license applicants may contact their local CCLD Regional Office to verify the individual's status.

To request a criminal record exemption transfer between state licensed facilities, a licensee or a license applicant must submit an LIC 9188, Criminal Record Exemption Transfer Request,to CBCB. Transfers to more than one facility may be requested on one form. Licensees/license applicants may attach a list of each facility number to which the individual is to be transferred. Transfers requests from the TrustLine Registry to state licensed facilities must be on the TLR3. Transfers requests from state licensed facilities to the TrustLine Registry must be on the TLR4.

Unlike clearance transfers, exemption transfers must be approved by the Department before the individual, who is the subject of the transfer, has client contact or the licensee will be in violation of the law and subject to a $100 civil penalty per day per violation. Licensees/license applicants will be notified of the transfer decision by letter.

Between County Licensed Agencies Or Between State And County Licensed Agencies - Family Child Care, Foster Family Homes and Certified Homes Only:

Active criminal record exemptions may be transferred between contracting county licensing agencies and between contracting county licensing agencies and state licensing agencies provided the transfer is within the same licensing category, i.e. FCCH to FCCH and FFH to FFH (certified family homes are defined by the Department of Justice as the same facility type as licensed foster family homes, therefore transfers between FFA certified homes and county licensed foster family homes are allowed). County and state licensing offices can provide specific details and instructions.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DELAY AND REJECT NOTICES

CBCB receives numerous phone calls from licensees and potential employees regarding DOJ Delay Notices and Reject Notices. The great majority of these calls center around not understanding what a delay or fingerprint reject means. Please click the "Frequently Asked Questions" link below for information on delay and reject notices.