Categories
APD Background Screening DCF Background Screening

The answers to questions frequently asked about DCF Level 2 Background Screening

Why does the State conduct background screening of prospective employees?

The law is intended to protect the safety of all vulnerable children and adults we serve.

 

As a current employee of DCF/ APD will I be re-screened?

Not right away. Current employees are not required to be re-screened due to changes in law until they are otherwise required to be re-screened.

 

Where can I find my ORI and OCA numbers?

You need to contact your regional coordinator to obtain those numbers. A list of regional contacts is located on the DCF background screening web site under quick links.

 

When do the new guidelines requiring “clearance” prior to filling a position take effect?

August 1, 2010

 

What is the major impact of the new fingerprinting and screening law?

The major difference is effective, August 1, 2010, individuals, may no longer begin work until they have been screened and have received clearance from the Department.

 

Who must be screened?

Staff and volunteers working in programs that provide services to the developmentally disabled, mental health programs, substance abuse programs, child care centers, residential child caring agency and child placing agency, summer camps and programs contracted to DCF that serve children.

 

Who Should be Screened?

 

Statute Regulatory Agency Group Subject to Screening
39 DCF Persons considered for placement of dependent children
39, 402, 409 DCF Employees that serve children, child care facility, family day care home, family foster home, residential child caring agency, child placing agency, summer day and 24 hour camp owners or operators, employees and volunteers that work over 10 hours a month.
393 DCF, APD Any direct care provider, 18 years of age or older who has direct face-to-face contact with a client while providing services to the client or has access to a client’s living areas or to a client’s funds or personal property.
394, 408 DCF Employees within mental health facilities and employees providing care for children and adults – directors, professional clinicians, staff members and volunteers
395 DCF, APD For unlicensed staff, such as dietary and custodial staff, who work in a licensed general hospital, pursuant to Ch. 395, F.S., whose duties require them to work within the psychiatric unit/ward of the hospital, these staff and volunteers are required to comply with Level 2 background screening requirements. These unlicensed staff would meet the definition of “Mental Health Personnel” according to s. 394.4572 (1) (a), F.S. and must comply with the background screening requirements in Ch. 435 and 408, F.S. They would also be required to comply with any other screening provisions applicable to Chapter 395, F.S.”
397 DCF All owners, directors, and chief financial officers of service providers. All service provider personnel who have direct contact with children receiving services or with adults who are developmentally disabled receiving services. Members of a foster family and persons residing with the foster family who are over the age of 18. A volunteer who assists on an intermittent basis that totals 40 or more hours per month.
984, 985, 435 DCF, DJJ Juvenile delinquency program employees providing care for children

 

What happens if a current employee who at the time of their original screening, did not have a disqualifying offense under Ch. 435, F.S., is re-screened and the rescreening discloses a disqualifying offense under Ch. 435 or 408 (if applicable)?

 

All employees should be re-screened at their regularly scheduled re-screening date. At that time, if the rescreening discloses a disqualifying offense the employee would be disqualified and would need to seek an exemption to be eligible to continue working in any position that requires background screening.

 

After selecting an applicant for a position when will they be able to report for duty?

 

Effective August 1, 2010, applicants cannot start to work until all results are back and cleared or have received an exemption from disqualification.

 

Will exemptions for disqualifying offenses still be allowed based on the new law?

 

Yes, there will still be an exemption process.

 

Do the background screening provisions of HB 7069 apply to substance abuse treatment providers licensed under Chapter 397?

 

Yes, the changes made to the general background screening statute ch. 435 apply to ch. 397 in the same way it does to the other authorizing statutes which require background screening. But it should be noted that HB 7079 made significant changes to the general background screening statute chapter 435 as well as certain other statutes which authorize and require background screening as a condition of employment or continued employment such as chapters 39; 393; 394; 402; 408; and 409. However, HB 7069 did not make any specific changes to ch. 397.

 

What steps should an employer take to ensure that current employees are aware of the new disqualifying offenses and the impact these offenses may have on their employment qualifications?

 

Employees should be reminded that the background screening laws have always required that employees inform their employer if the employee was convicted of any disqualifying offense while employed but now requires that the employee inform the employer of any arrest for any disqualifying offense and that there are some new disqualifying offenses.

 

Employers are not required to rescreen employees earlier than the employee’s regularly scheduled rescreening date unless the employer has reason to believe a particular employee is ineligible for employment. If an employer has reason to believe that a current employee is or maybe ineligible for employment due to having been arrested with disposition pending for; having been found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to any disqualifying offense, the employer should immediately have the employee rescreened to confirm and determine the employee’s eligibility or ineligibility for employment. The employer should take the appropriate steps depending upon the results of the rescreening.

 

What are the screening requirements for persons between the ages of 12 and 18 who are members of the family or reside in a home which is either licensed as or has a license application pending for an APD Direct Service Provider (ch. 393); a Child Care facility (ch. 402); or, a Family Foster Home (ch. 409).

 

All three of the above statutes provide that the child is not to be fingerprinted but rather is to be screened for delinquency records. The results of screenings of persons between the ages of 12 and 18 in the home under chapters 393,402 and 409 are no longer to be utilized as an automatic disqualifier for the applicant for a license or license renewal. Since the child is not required to be licensed and is not providing any service for which the license is being issued, any information resulting from the screening of the child is to be used in the same way other information from employment checks or local law enforcement checks is utilized to assist in the decision making rather than as an automatic disqualification for the license applicant.

 

Recently the issue of screenings for children 12 to 18 years of age who are the family members or who reside with an individual who is seeking to be licensed or to have a license renewed for operating a family foster home under chapter 409 was raised. The specific question asked was “Does the “screening” requirement in chapter 409 for children (12 to 18 years of age) in the home of a foster family home licensee or applicant for such a license require the applicant or licensee be disqualified for licensure or license renewal if the results of the child’s screening indicate an offense listed in chapter 435?

 

Section 435.01, Florida Statutes applies broadly and provides that “Unless otherwise provided by law, whenever a background screening for employment or a background security check is required by law to be conducted pursuant to this chapter, the provisions of this chapter apply.”

 

The licensure statute for family foster homes, chapter 409, expressly provides for different “screening” of 12 to 18 year old family members. Subsection 409.175(2)(i) specifies that “ For purposes of screening, the term includes any member, over the age of 12 years, of the family of the owner or operator . . . residing with the owner or operator . . . Members of the family of the owner or operator . . . who are between the ages of 12 years and 18 years are not required to be fingerprinted, but must be screened for delinquency records….”

 

While Chapter 435 prescribes disqualifying offenses, exemption processes, etc., it does not provide any standards for application to the expressly different “screening” above. Accordingly, it would not be unreasonable to construe that the Legislature never intended that the Chapter 435 standards apply to 12 to 18 year old members of the family of the owner or operator.

 

After consulting with the legislative staff on the interpretation of this provision, DCF will no longer utilize the results of the screening of 12 to 18 year olds in the home as an automatic disqualifier for the license applicant. Since the child is not required to be licensed and is not providing any service for which the license is being issued, the information is to be used in the same way other information from employment checks or local law enforcement checks is utilized to assist in the decision making rather than as an automatic disqualification for the license applicant. Because the screenings for the children are not based upon the ch. 435 standards, there is no need to seek an exemption for any negative results of the child’s screening.

 

Although the question was raised regarding the 12 to 18 year old screenings under the family foster homes statute, the department conducts screenings under two other statutes which also expressly provide for the same different “screening” of 12 to 18 year old family members. The first is the licensing statute for the direct service providers under chapter 393 (APD) and child care licensees under chapter 402 (DCF). Both of these statutes require that when the facility in question is the residence or adjacent to the residence of the license applicant, that members of the household between the ages of 12 and 18 are to be screened but under the same limited manner of a search of the child’s delinquency records.

 

Section 393.0655, requires screening of persons 12 years of age or older, including family members, residing with a direct services provider who provides services to clients in his or her own place of residence but specifies that “those persons who are 12 to 18 years of age shall be screened for delinquency records only.”

 

Sections 402.302; 313; and 3131, all expressly provide for a different “screening” for persons in the home between the ages of 12 and 18. These section provide that “members of the operator’s family or persons residing with the operator who are between the ages of 12 years and 18 years are not required to be fingerprinted but must be screened for delinquency records.”

 

 

Categories
APD Background Screening DCF Background Screening VECHS Program

DCF Level 2 Background Screening and Fingerprinting for Summer Camps in Florida

Here are some important facts on background screening for Summer Camps in FAQ format:

 

What constitutes a summer camp?

 

Summer day camps” and “Summer 24-hour camps” are defined in Section 409.175 F.S. “Summer day camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older. “Summer 24-hour camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated on a 24-hour basis during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older, that are not exclusively educational.

 

Requirements for athletic coaches are found in Section 943.0438 F.S. Background screening for paid or volunteer athletic coaches are not screened through the Department of Children and Families, they are screened using the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Enforcement of requirements for athletic coaches would be the independent sanctioning authority.

 

Who has to be screened?

Personnel for the purposes of screening for summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps includes owners, operators, employees, and volunteers working in summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps providing care for children. Volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement is always present and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight.

 

When do employees or volunteers have to be screened?

An employer may not hire, select, or otherwise allow an employee to have contact with any vulnerable person that would place the employee in a role that requires the background screening.

 

How are international counselors background screened?

They must complete a Level 2 Background Screening upon arriving in Florida. Although not required by law, a background check from their home country should be requested. Most organizations that assist with identifying international counselors do provide a background check.

 

Are employees or volunteers under the age of 18 required to be fingerprinted?

Yes. There are no exclusions under the statute for those under age 18 from being fingerprinted. However, if the employee or volunteer under 18 is not providing direct care for children, they would not have to be fingerprinted.

 

What are the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Screening for employment and where are the lists of offenses that will preclude potential employees from working? What are local law enforcement checks? What are the cost differences? Do we need to do a local sheriff’s check?

The requirements for Level 1 and Level 2 Employment Background Screening are found in Chapter 435 Florida Statutes. Level 1 Background Screening requires an employment history check, statewide criminal correspondence checks through FDLE (name-based check), and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website and may include local law enforcement checks.

 

Level 2 Background Screening requires fingerprinting for statewide criminal history checks through FDLE and national criminal history checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and may include local law enforcement checks.

The list of disqualifications from employment is found in Section 435.04 F.S.

 

They include:

 

  • Anyone arrested for and awaiting final disposition of prohibited offense, regardless of adjudication
  • Anyone who has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a prohibited offense
  • Any case where the applicant was adjudicated delinquent and the record of committing a prohibited offense has not been sealed or expunged

 

Local law enforcement checks are completed by local sheriff and police departments. They are recommended because occasionally there may be information related to arrests or calls to the applicant’s address that are not included in the FDLE record.

 

The costs can vary and depend upon the Live Scan vendor selected. Most costs are listed on our website under the section Live Scan Location and Interactive Map.

 

Are volunteer athletic coach screened under this law?

No. Background screening for volunteer athletic coaches is authorized under s. 943.0438 F.S. through the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System.

 

What are the differences between this law and the Jessica Lunsford Act?

The Jessica Lunsford Act found in Section 1012.465 F.S. requires non-instructional school district employees or contract personnel who are permitted access on school grounds when students are presents meet Level 2 Background Screening requirements as described in s. 1012.32 F.S.

 

Is there any limit on how far in advance you can screen?

No earlier than 60 days before beginning employment.

 

How often do they have to be screened?

Section 409.1757 F.S. outlines when persons are not required to be refingerprinted or rescreened. If an employee or applicant has been fingerprinted or screened as required in chapter 393, 394, 397, 402, and 409, or teachers pursuant to chapter 1012, who have not been unemployed for more than 90 days and attest to the completion of the fingerprinting and compliance with the standards related to good moral character.

 

What are ORI and OCA numbers? What is the process to get an agency ORI Code and OCA Code and how long does that take?

The ORI number (Originating Agency Identifier). This number is provided by FDLE and identifies the agency requesting the criminal history check and for what purpose.

The OCA (Controlling Agency Identifier). This number is provided by DCF and identifies the provider requesting the background check.

Without the ORI number and the OCA number, FDLE cannot process the request and the DCF will not know where the screening results are to be sent.

The DCF will need the following:

 

Facility/Camp:

Name
Physical Address
Mailing Address
Valid E-mail
Contact Person (Owner/Operator)
Contact Person Phone Number

 

This information can be sent to the following email address: bgs1116@dcf.state.fl.us

Upon registration, you will be provided a DCF Agency Identifier (ORI) and a DCF Live Scan OCA through email.

 

What if we have already done the VECHS check – is this sufficient?

No. DCF is responsible for ensuring persons working in summer camps meet the requirements for background screening. VECHS checks are not allowed to be shared with the Department.

 

What if we have already done fingerprint checks, but not through the Live Scan process – do those have to be redone? Can fingerprints be done using hard cards?

 

If they meet the Level 2 requirements, were completed within the last 5 years, and there has not been a 90 day break in service, they would not need to be redone.

Fingerprints submitted using hard cards are permissible until 2012. However, it will delay receiving the results for 4-6 weeks or longer.

 

Where do the records need to be kept? Is it the same for the Affidavit of Good Moral Character?

The results from the background screening and the Affidavit of Good Moral Conduct should be maintained in your personnel files.

 

Who will be enforcing this? Can we expect to be monitored or inspected, or will this happen when a complaint is lodged against a program?

 

DCF has the authority to ensure compliance. Currently, summer camps are only monitored when a complaint has been made related to noncompliance with background screening. However, we are reviewing the requirements and more information related to enforcement will be released in the near future.

 

Why isn’t there a state database where I can verify if someone has already been checked?

Currently, there are limitations on sharing information between agencies. Agencies work together and when possible, the DCF will accept Level 2 Letters of Clearance completed by other entities such as school boards, or the Agency for Health Care Administration.

 

Is all necessary information collected with the fingerprint, or are there other forms that have to be completed and retained by us, or returned to DCF?

For completion of the Level 2 Background Screening, the information provided to the Live Scan Vendor is sufficient. Additional information from the applicant may be required if a criminal history is noted.

 

When does a summer camp have to be licensed by DCF?

Summer camps are not licensed by DCF.

 

Does the State require any additional training of employees hired by local agencies for summer programs?

No.

What are the counties that are doing their own licensing, when are they allowed to do their own licensing, and can they require a program that is exempt in State statute to be licensed under their county authority? Where can we find contact information on those county licensing boards/units?

 

The State does not require licensure of summer camps. There may be local ordinances that do require licensure. This information would be found locally.

Is there a website for more answers on DCF background screening requirements?

 

Yes. The Department website for background screening is: http://www.dcfbackgroundscreening.com. As information or updates are available, they will be added to our website.

 

Categories
AHCA Background Screening

DCF Level 2 Background Screening and Fingerprinting for Summer Camps in Florida

Here are some important facts on background screening for Summer Camps in FAQ format:

 

What constitutes a summer camp?

 

Summer day camps” and “Summer 24-hour camps” are defined in Section 409.175 F.S. “Summer day camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older. “Summer 24-hour camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated on a 24-hour basis during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older, that are not exclusively educational.

 

Requirements for athletic coaches are found in Section 943.0438 F.S. Background screening for paid or volunteer athletic coaches are not screened through the Department of Children and Families, they are screened using the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Enforcement of requirements for athletic coaches would be the independent sanctioning authority.

 

Who has to be screened?

 

Personnel for the purposes of screening for summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps includes owners, operators, employees, and volunteers working in summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps providing care for children. Volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement is always present and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight.

 

When do employees or volunteers have to be screened?

 

An employer may not hire, select, or otherwise allow an employee to have contact with any vulnerable person that would place the employee in a role that requires the background screening.

 

How are international counselors background screened?

 

They must complete a Level 2 Background Screening upon arriving in Florida. Although not required by law, a background check from their home country should be requested. Most organizations that assist with identifying international counselors do provide a background check.

 

Are employees or volunteers under the age of 18 required to be fingerprinted?

 

Yes. There are no exclusions under the statute for those under age 18 from being fingerprinted. However, if the employee or volunteer under 18 is not providing direct care for children, they would not have to be fingerprinted.

 

What are the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Screening for employment and where are the lists of offenses that will preclude potential employees from working? What are local law enforcement checks? What are the cost differences? Do we need to do a local sheriff’s check?

 

The requirements for Level 1 and Level 2 Employment Background Screening are found in Chapter 435 Florida Statutes. Level 1 Background Screening requires an employment history check, statewide criminal correspondence checks through FDLE (name-based check), and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website and may include local law enforcement checks.

 

Level 2 Background Screening requires fingerprinting for statewide criminal history checks through FDLE and national criminal history checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and may include local law enforcement checks.

 

The list of disqualifications from employment is found in Section 435.04 F.S.

 

They include:

 

  • Anyone arrested for and awaiting final disposition of prohibited offense, regardless of adjudication
  • Anyone who has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a prohibited offense
  • Any case where the applicant was adjudicated delinquent and the record of committing a prohibited offense has not been sealed or expunged

 

Local law enforcement checks are completed by local sheriff and police departments. They are recommended because occasionally there may be information related to arrests or calls to the applicant’s address that are not included in the FDLE record.

 

The costs can vary and depend upon the Live Scan vendor selected. Most costs are listed on our website under the section Live Scan Location and Interactive Map.

 

Are volunteer athletic coach screened under this law?

 

No. Background screening for volunteer athletic coaches is authorized under s. 943.0438 F.S. through the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System.

 

What are the differences between this law and the Jessica Lunsford Act?

 

The Jessica Lunsford Act found in Section 1012.465 F.S. requires non-instructional school district employees or contract personnel who are permitted access on school grounds when students are presents meet Level 2 Background Screening requirements as described in s. 1012.32 F.S.

 

Is there any limit on how far in advance you can screen?

No earlier than 60 days before beginning employment.

How often do they have to be screened?

 

Section 409.1757 F.S. outlines when persons are not required to be refingerprinted or rescreened. If an employee or applicant has been fingerprinted or screened as required in chapter 393, 394, 397, 402, and 409, or teachers pursuant to chapter 1012, who have not been unemployed for more than 90 days and attest to the completion of the fingerprinting and compliance with the standards related to good moral character.

 

What are ORI and OCA numbers? What is the process to get an agency ORI Code and OCA Code and how long does that take?

 

The ORI number (Originating Agency Identifier). This number is provided by FDLE and identifies the agency requesting the criminal history check and for what purpose.

 

The OCA (Controlling Agency Identifier). This number is provided by DCF and identifies the provider requesting the background check.

 

Without the ORI number and the OCA number, FDLE cannot process the request and the DCF will not know where the screening results are to be sent.

 

The DCF will need the following:

 

Facility/Camp:

Name
Physical Address
Mailing Address
Valid E-mail
Contact Person (Owner/Operator)
Contact Person Phone Number

 

This information can be sent to the following email address: bgs1116@dcf.state.fl.us

Upon registration, you will be provided a DCF Agency Identifier (ORI) and a DCF Live Scan OCA through email.

 

What if we have already done the VECHS check – is this sufficient?

 

No. DCF is responsible for ensuring persons working in summer camps meet the requirements for background screening. VECHS checks are not allowed to be shared with the Department.

 

What if we have already done fingerprint checks, but not through the Live Scan process – do those have to be redone? Can fingerprints be done using hard cards?

 

If they meet the Level 2 requirements, were completed within the last 5 years, and there has not been a 90 day break in service, they would not need to be redone.

 

Fingerprints submitted using hard cards are permissible until 2012. However, it will delay receiving the results for 4-6 weeks or longer.

 

Where do the records need to be kept? Is it the same for the Affidavit of Good Moral Character?

 

The results from the background screening and the Affidavit of Good Moral Conduct should be maintained in your personnel files.

 

Who will be enforcing this? Can we expect to be monitored or inspected, or will this happen when a complaint is lodged against a program?

 

DCF has the authority to ensure compliance. Currently, summer camps are only monitored when a complaint has been made related to noncompliance with background screening. However, we are reviewing the requirements and more information related to enforcement will be released in the near future.

 

Why isn’t there a state database where I can verify if someone has already been checked?

 

Currently, there are limitations on sharing information between agencies. Agencies work together and when possible, the DCF will accept Level 2 Letters of Clearance completed by other entities such as school boards, or the Agency for Health Care Administration.

 

Is all necessary information collected with the fingerprint, or are there other forms that have to be completed and retained by us, or returned to DCF?

 

For completion of the Level 2 Background Screening, the information provided to the Live Scan Vendor is sufficient. Additional information from the applicant may be required if a criminal history is noted.

 

When does a summer camp have to be licensed by DCF?

 

Summer camps are not licensed by DCF.

 

Does the State require any additional training of employees hired by local agencies for summer programs?

 

No.

 

What are the counties that are doing their own licensing, when are they allowed to do their own licensing, and can they require a program that is exempt in State statute to be licensed under their county authority? Where can we find contact information on those county licensing boards/units?

 

The State does not require licensure of summer camps. There may be local ordinances that do require licensure. This information would be found locally.

 

Is there a website for more answers on DCF background screening requirements?

 

Yes. The Department website for background screening is: http://www.dcfbackgroundscreening.com. As information or updates are available, they will be added to our website.