Comprehensive Background Checks for Licensed/Registered Child Care Individuals

Comprehensive Background Checks for Licensed/Registered Child Care Individuals

January 23, 2020 0 By Kailee Schamberger


Hello I’m Jim Hart, Director of Program
Operations for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Division
of Child Care Services. New York State takes the health and safety of our
children and child care programs very seriously,
That’s why on April 1, 2019, legislation was enacted that grants the Office of
Children and Family Services the authority to implement requirements
mandated by the federal Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014.
Existing child care programs received information from the Office that outlines
the provisions of the comprehensive background check requirements including
the related expectation and procedures. In addition, the Office of Children and
Family Services has new regulations set to take effect on September 25, 2019. to
support implementation of these requirements. While there are additional
provisions in the regulations, this presentation is intended to help provide
you with the information necessary to fulfill the requirements and complete
the comprehensive background check process. The New York State Office of
Children and Family Services thanks you for your continued effort to provide
quality child care to the children and families of New York State. On April 1, 2019, New York State passed
legislation which gave the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) the
authority to implement statutory requirements included in the federal
Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014. This legislation has laid the
groundwork for new regulations. These regulatory changes include: comprehensive
background checks (CBC)s, annual inspections of child care
programs, annual training requirements, and additional enhanced health and
safety requirements in various areas. Other changes are needed to clarify or
amend existing regulatory citations. Visit the OCFS website to see the
proposed regulations and participate in the public comment period.
Today we are focusing on what you need to know about the comprehensive
background checks (CBCs). We will provide you with
information that affects your child care program and serves to clarify changes in
procedures and practice regarding the background clearance process. The
information in this presentation applies to OCFS regulated family, group family,
day care center, small day care center, and school-aged child care programs. While
the requirements are similar for Article 47 day care centers in New York City
overseen by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene,some of these
procedures may be different. For information regarding these programs,
please contact your DOHMH representative. Beginning September 25,
2019, new or prospective child care individuals in a child day care center,
small day care center, school-aged child care program, group family day care home,
or family day care will be subject to comprehensive background checks.
Background clearances must be completed for any perspective: operator, director,
employee, or volunteer, and any person age eighteen or older living in a family or
group family day care home. Existing individuals may continue to work in the
program as they have been. The checks will include a New York State criminal
history record check with the Division of Criminal Justice Services: a national
criminal record check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a search
of the New York State Sex Offender Registry, a check of the New York
Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR),
a check by the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
(SEL). The SEL is not a new check and includes individuals who have been
excluded from working with vulnerable people. This check will be completed by
OCFS. And a search of the National Sex Offender Registry using the National
Crime & Information Center. Please note the National Sex Offender Registry check
will be implemented at a later date. In addition, for any individual who resides
or resided outside of New York State in the past five years, the following
background checks will be required. A search of the criminal history
repository in each state where the individual resides or resided outside of
New York State. A search of any state sex offender registry or repository in each
state where the individual resides or resided outside of New York, and a search
of state-based child abuse or neglect repository in each state where the
individual resides or resided outside of New York. Now what does this mean for you
and your program? To accomplish the requirements for the comprehensive
background checks OCFS, has outlined a plan for implementation. For new or
prospective operators, directors, employees. or volunteers, who are not
living out of state and did not live out of state in the prior five years, they
must successfully complete the comprehensive background clearance
checks and receive successful notification from OCFS prior
to beginning in a program. How do I complete the clearance requirements?
Well OCFS has revised the clearance packet (6000 series). Each individual
current or prospective must complete these forms. This packet contains forms:
OCFS-6000 Required Forms in Clearance Lists, OCFS-6001 Child Care Provider, Staff and Volunteer Information, OCFS-6002 Qualifications, OCFS-6003 References, OCFS-6004 Medical, OCFS-6005 Criminal Conviction Statement, OCFS-6022 Staff Exclusion List, 4930 Request for Fingerprinting, and the LDSS-3370
Statewide Central Register Database Check Request. Instructions on where
forms should be mailed are included on OCFS-6000. These forms are available
on the OCFS website. When submitting documents make sure they are complete.
Incomplete documentation will delay this process. In the event a prospective
operator, director, employee, or a volunteer live or have lived out of
state in the past five years, they may be granted conditional approval due to the
additional processing timeframes that may result in completing the out-of-
state portion of the background checks. However, before they begin, the individual
must have successfully completed all other components of the comprehensive
background check and they cannot be left alone unsupervised with children until
the successful results are provided to the program by OCFS. CCDBG requires all
existing and currently cleared operators, directors, employees, volunteers, and
household members living in a family or group family day care home age 18 years
and older to complete the comprehensive background
check screenings in accordance with a schedule set forth by OCFS. If an individual has been separated from
a New York State child care program for more than 180 consecutive days, the
individual will need to undergo the comprehensive background check prior to
starting with a new program. If an individual has completed the
comprehensive background check and wants to work in a new program, their
fingerprint screening can be waived to the new program, but a new SCR and SEL
are needed. This individual may begin working at the new program while their
SCR and SEL are being processed. OCFS has developed an implementation schedule for
existing staff to complete this screening process. The schedule is based
on an individual’s birth date. The schedule for existing staff is as
follows: each existing child care operator, director, employee, volunteer, and
household member over the age of 18, will schedule their fingerprinting
appointment within seven days before or after their birthday. For instance, if
your birthday is on May 15th, your fingerprint imaging appointment must
occur between May 8, and May 22, 2020. Existing individuals may continue to
work in the program as they have been. Given the high volume of individuals
required to undergo this process, it is imperative individuals follow the
schedule. Failure to follow the schedule may result in an individual not being
screened as required and cause unnecessary delays. There are federally
required, mandatory disqualifying conditions and offenses. It is possible
that individuals who have been approved prior may no longer be approved once
these additional background checks are completed. Disqualifying conditions
include: if an individual refuses to consent to the criminal background check,
knowingly makes a materially false statement in connection with such
criminal background check, is registered or is required to be registered on a
state or national sex offender registry. If the individual has been convicted of
a felony consisting of: murder, child abuse or
neglect, a crime against children including child pornography, spousal
abuse, a crime involving rape or sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, physical
assault or battery, or if the individual has been convicted of a violent
misdemeanor committed as an adult against a child including the following
crimes: child abuse, child endangerment, sexual assault or of a misdemeanor
involving child pornography. For daycare center in school-aged child care
programs, there will be changes in how your program will process and receive
information on the outcome of the background check screening process. A
background check approval notice will be sent to your program reflecting
completion of the process and conditional approval, if applicable, for
your employees and volunteers. All directors and those in family and group
family day care roles will receive an overall roll approval notice which
includes the approval of the background check screening process. once the process
is complete and conditional approval if applicable. Additional notifications and
procedures will be in place to address any individuals whose role is unable to
be approved due to conditions in their background check screening process. Day
care center and school-age child care programs will continue to enter data
from the Statewide Central Register database check form LDSS-3370 into the
Online Clearance System. However. this information will then be transmitted to
your program’s licensor or registrar for submission to the
SCR. The regulator will also receive the results from the SCR as this information
will contribute to the overall background check process. It is important
when submitting database check requests to be sure you are assigning the correct
clearance category. Requests for new, prospective employees – a fee paying
category requires $25 to accompany the request. The Online Clearance System (OCS) allows programs to pay this fee using a credit card and OCFS strongly
encourages this practice as it will help expedite processing. If the program is
paying by a certified check, postal or bank money order,
tellers check, cashier’s check, or agency check, it must be made payable to the New
York State Office of Children and Family Services in the amount of $25. The check
must also include the applicants name and the programs facility ID number. This
payment must then be mailed to the appropriate licensing, registration
office upon submission of the request in the Online Clearance System. The database
check will not be processed until the $25 fee is received by the OCFS
licensing or registration office. Untimely submission will result in a
delay of processing. Again, OCFS strongly encourages the use of credit card
payment. As a result of the comprehensive background check screening requirements,
it is important that your active staff list be current. Please review your staff
roster carefully and delete anyone who is not actively working in your program.
You should use form OCFS-4622 Notice to Expunge Associated Fingerprint
Card and communicate this information to your licensor or registrar. OCFS
recognizes that implementing these changes may create challenges. We will
keep you informed as we progress through this process together.
Please continue to review the documents we send to you and visit the OCFS
website for updates. After we complete this initial process, the Child Care
Development Block Grant requires this process be redone at least once every
five years. Enhancing the background clearances of individuals associated
with child care programs is not only required under federal law, but improves
the well-being and safety of New York State’s children in child care.