Do I Need a Criminal Background Check?

State statutes require a criminal record background check of all community care license applicants, community care licensees, adult residents, volunteers under certain conditions and employees of community care facilities who have contact with clients.  You must submit fingerprints through LiveScan and receive a criminal record clearance, or exemption, from the Care Provider Management Branch (CPMB) if you plan to obtain a license or provide services, work or reside in a community care facility, home care organization, or as an unlicensed child care provider through TrustLine.  Home Care Aide applicants, whether independent or affiliated to a home care organization, must be fingerprinted and undergo the background check process.

If you have a criminal record of arrests and/or convictions, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will forward a letter to you after you submit fingerprints.  The letter is an exemption notification that is sent to the applicant or licensee and to you.  The letter explains how to request an exemption and lists the documents/information that must be submitted to CDSS to request an exemption.  Be sure to keep this letter so that you can refer back to it.  You cannot be present (work, reside or volunteer) in the community care facility or provide services as a Home Care Aide or unlicensed child care provider until an exemption is granted by the CDSS.

An exemption is a CDSS-authorized written document that "exempts" you from the requirement of having a criminal record clearance.  All convictions other than minor traffic violations require an exemption, and this includes misdemeanors, felonies and convictions that occurred a long time ago or were dismissed.

The CDSS screens all arrest rap sheets to determine whether an investigation is necessary.  The list of referable arrests is listed in statute and includes all crimes that are considered non-exemptible.  The CPMB will send a letter to you notifying you that an investigation of the arrest(s) will be conducted to determine if the underlying conduct is substantiated and therefore presents a risk to the health and safety of clients in care.  The evaluation of referable arrests may delay your clearance process.

The Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) name check is an additional check required for individuals who will be associated to any facility that cares for children. The Department of Justice administers the CACI, which is a statewide database used by law enforcement and agencies that provide children's services.  When an individual is suspected of child abuse, a county agency initiates an investigation.  If the allegations of child abuse or severe neglect are substantiated, a report is submitted to the Department of Justice.  Reports include allegations of severe neglect as well as serious physical, mental, emotional and/or sexual abuse of a child.  The Department of Justice provides the CDSS with notification of any subsequent child abuse reports after the initial check.

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