Frequently Asked Questions (and the Answers)

The Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB) has compiled a list of the questions we are asked the most often. To jump to the section you are most interested in, simply click on one of the links below. Bookmark this page for future reference and watch for updates. And if you are or want to be a Home Care Aide or Home Care Organization, there is a Frequently Asked Questions page especially for you: Frequently Asked Questions—Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act.

Who needs to be fingerprinted?

State laws require that all community care license applicants be fingerprinted. Also, all adults who work in licensed community care facilities or home care organizations must be fingerprinted. And all home care aide applicants, whether independent or affiliated to a home care organization, must be fingerprinted.

How do I get a fingerprint clearance?

To begin the process to obtain a criminal background check clearance, you must do two things:

  • Complete a Criminal Record Statement (LIC 508) form that your potential employer will provide. On the form you must truthfully provide the history of any criminal record you have except for minor traffic violations.
  • Submit your fingerprints at a LiveScan site to the California Department of Justice.

How do I submit my fingerprints?

The fastest way is by contacting your local Community Care Licensing Division office to locate the nearest LiveScan (electronic) fingerprint site. You must make an appointment and go to the site to submit your fingerprints. List of local licensing offices. List of LiveScan sites. Note: LiveScan is an electronic fingerprinting service provided by companies and LiveScan is operated separately (independently from) from the California Department of Social Services, the Community Care Licensing Division, the Caregiver Background Check Bureau, and the California Department of Justice (DOJ).

Your fingerprints are electronically forwarded to DOJ and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine if you have any reportable arrests or convictions. If you will be working in a children’s facility, your name and your identifying information also will be checked on the Child Abuse Central Index.

What is a fingerprint reject?

The DOJ will reject fingerprints that are smudged or not readable. The DOJ will send a notice to the licensee that the applicant requesting employment in their facility has a fingerprint reject. The licensee must give the notice to the applicant and the applicant must be re-fingerprinted. The applicant should make an appointment and go back to the same LiveScan site to have his/her fingerprints done again. If the applicant brings the LiveScan transaction receipt and the fingerprint reject notice to the LiveScan site, the applicant will not be charged to be re-fingerprinted. Make sure the reprint submission has the same ATI number that was used on the original fingerprint submission or the DOJ will not understand that the applicant is being reprinted due to a reject of the first fingerprint submission.

What happens if I have no criminal history?

You will receive a notice from the California Department of Justice that you have no criminal history. You should retain the letter from the DOJ for your records. The California Department of Social Services also will be notified by the DOJ.You will receive a clearance.

What is a “delay notice?”

The Department of Justice sends the licensee a delay notice if the DOJ cannot process a clearance promptly. A delay notice might be sent for several reasons:

  • The DOJ may need to check something about your record. This means that they may need to contact a reporting agency like a police, sheriff, child welfare agency or a court to obtain further information and determine if you have a reportable record.
  • The DOJ may have an incomplete record and need to obtain additional information about the results of an incident on your criminal record.
  • The DOJ may have difficulty determining if you are related to a criminal record due to an error on the record or as a result of identical names and birth dates with another person. A delay may be required to manually search the record and make sure that the record is correct.

How long do I have to wait if I am sent a delay notice?

Please wait 30 days. After 30 days, you can send the DOJ’s form BCII 8043 to DOJ and request a follow up.

I did not get a delay notice from DOJ but 30 days have passed. I have a criminal history. What should I do?

Check with your potential employer (the licensee or provider) to see if an exemption request package has been sent to the Caregiver Background Check Bureau. The employer also can check with the local Community Care Licensing Division office to determine if the Licensing Information System has details on the status of your file. When you submit your fingerprints and you have a criminal history, the DOJ will send your record, commonly called a “RAP sheet,” to the Department of Social Services. The CBCB will send a letter to the facility or provider where you have applied to work letting them know that you require an exemption from the criminal background clearance. If the facility, provider or licensee agrees to request an exemption on your behalf, you must complete the package that CBCB sent to the licensee. You cannot work or volunteer at the facility or provide services unless you receive an exemption. If the licensee chooses not to request an exemption for you to work in their facility, you can apply for an exemption on your own behalf.

What is an exemption?

Before an individual can obtain a community care license, or provide services, work or reside in the facility, he/she must receive a criminal record clearance from the CBCB. An individual convicted of any crime is disqualified unless CBCB grants an exemption from disqualification. An exemption is a CBCB-authorized written document that "exempts" the individual from the requirement of having a criminal record clearance. All convictions other than minor traffic violations require an exemption, including misdemeanors, felonies and convictions that occurred a long time ago. The CBCB also has the authority and responsibility to investigate arrests to determine if the underlying conduct is substantiated and therefore presents a risk to the health and safety of clients who are in care. The CBCB may grant an exemption if the individual’s criminal history meets all the criteria specified in the regulations and he/she submits substantial and convincing evidence of good character and rehabilitation. However, individuals convicted of serious crimes such as robbery, sexual battery, child abuse, elder or dependent adult abuse, rape, arson or kidnapping are not eligible for an exemption.

I received a letter that says an exemption is needed before I can work. What do I need to submit for an exemption?

The exemption package must be complete and sent to the Caregiver Background Check Bureau promptly because deadlines apply. The CBCB will examine your record and history to determine if you can have an exemption to work or volunteer in a facility or provide services. You will receive an exemption only if you can show that you are sufficiently rehabilitated and that you are no longer involved in criminal activity.

To begin the exemption process, you must send the following materials to the CBCB. Seeking an exemption is a lengthy process and the more complete your packet to CBCB, the faster the process will go. For details about the exemption package, please go to Exemptions Explained.

  • A written request for an exemption should be submitted to CBCB.
  • Include the individual's current mailing address and telephone number.
  • Provide three signed character reference statements.These are statements of three people who know the individual and who can speak to his/her good character and they each must be written on the LIC 301E Reference Statement form.
  • A certificate of any training, classes, courses, treatment or counseling sessions completed. Examples include anger management classes, DUI classes, or completing nursing assistant training.
  • A detailed description of what the individual will do while working or volunteering at the facility.
  • A copy of the signed Criminal Record Statement (LIC-508) that was completed at the time of hire.
  • A written statement from the individual describing the events surrounding each conviction. This should be detailed.
  • If it is available, documentation that the individual's current probation or last period of probation was informal.

How long do I have to wait for my exemption request to be processed?

The Caregiver Background Check Bureau is required to review all of the information requested in the exemption package. Certified records that explain your history, usually a police report and/or court judgment of conviction, may be needed if CBCB does not have enough evidence to make a decision on your file. If CBCB needs additional documents from the court or police, your file cannot proceed until the records are received. If the court or police do not send the reports, CBCB must continue to request them. You can expedite your exemption request by providing as much information as possible when you submit your original package to CBCB. If you obtain any reports from the court or police, submit them to CBCB as soon as possible so that CBCB can process your file faster. Copies of any records you have will help CBCB make a decision on your exemption request.

What role does an analyst play in processing my exemption request?

Seeking an exemption is a lengthy process and the more complete your packet to CBCB, the faster the process will go. Once your materials are received, CBCB will assign an analyst (identified by an analyst number) to your file. It will take several days to get an analyst assigned, but that analyst will be your primary contact for any questions. When you leave a voice mail message for your analyst, be sure to speak slowly, provide your identification number, and leave a valid telephone number for the analyst to reach you. If you call CBCB and you speak with an operator, the operator will have only general information for you; your analyst is the only CBCB staff person with detailed information about your file.

What if my exemption request is denied?

You will receive a letter from the CBCB informing you that your exemption has been denied (turned down). If you decide to appeal the CBCB’s decision, your case will be forwarded to the legal department at the California Department of Social Services and you will be scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

What is a non-exemptible crime?

The CBCB is prohibited by law from granting exemptions to individuals convicted of certain crimes (non-exemptible crimes). Currently, there are 60 non-exemptible crimes, including murder, rape, torture, kidnapping and crimes requiring sex offender registration. The non-exemptible crimes are listed here. Additional non-exemptible crimes apply to prospective foster and adoptive parents, certified family homes, and Resource Family Homes. If an individual is convicted of a non-exemptible crime, that individual cannot work in any licensed facility or for a health care organization, and an individual’s application will be denied or the license revoked based on the conviction. The CBCB also has the authority and responsibility to investigate arrests to determine if the underlying conduct is substantiated and therefore presents a risk to the health and safety of clients who are in care.

I submitted fingerprints and have not received any response. I do not have any criminal record. How long should I wait?

After 60 days, you should ask the licensee (facility or provider) to contact the local Community Care Licensing Division office to check the status of your fingerprints. The local licensing office will check the Licensing Information System. If the local licensing office is unable to determine the status of your fingerprint submission, the licensing office should contact the Caregiver Background Check Bureau to determine the status of your fingerprint submission.

I have an exemption and I want to start working in another facility. Should I fingerprint again? How do I transfer my exemption from where I currently work to the new facility?

Do not submit another set of fingerprints. Once granted, an exemption can be transferred from one licensed community care facility to another, if certain conditions are met. Exemption transfers require the review of the prior criminal record exemption.  To begin the transfer process, ask the licensee of the new facility to submit a completed Criminal Record Exemption Transfer form (LIC 9188). The form must be signed by the new licensee, administrator or manager. The form must be submitted to the local Community Care Licensing Division office by the licensee. The form will be forwarded by the local licensing office to the Caregiver Background Check Bureau, who will process the transfer and, if approved, transfer your exemption to the new facility. The CBCB will update the Licensing Information System to show your association to the new facility.

An expedited transfer process was implemented where a letter is sent to the licensee within one week of the date the request is received at CBCB.  This letter informs the licensee whether or not the individual can begin working during the exemption review process.

The following additional information and materials are available to help you.