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VECHS Program

FDLE VECHS program for private schools. Background screening on teachers and school volunteers

If your organization is a private school in need for criminal history search on staff and volunteers, or maybe background checks are required for your school in order to participate in scholarship programs, then VECHS program run by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is exactly what you need.

 

VECHS (Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System) program had been established by FDLE to assist with checking the background of persons who work or volunteer with children, the elderly, or the disabled under the National Child Protection Act (1993), as amended, and section 943.0542, Florida Statutes (1999). VECHS program is created for entities not required to obtain Level 2 background screening clearance according to statutory provision.

 

First of all contact The Florida Department of Education (DOE) Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice and verify who exactly in your organization is required to be fingerprinted. Next step is the enrollment into VECHS program and this is how you do it. Private schools are authorized to participate in FDLE’s Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) because of the service they offer to Children. VECHS is a voluntary program — however; under the provisions of Section 1002.421, F.S., private schools participating in scholarship programs must conduct criminal history record checks on employees and contracted personnel. Those criminal history checks will be conducted through the FDLE VECHS program.

 

Enrollment materials include the VECHS Application and User Agreement. Both of these documents must be submitted to FDLE via mail as they must be signed by the appropriate school authority. The forms may be printed from the internet, completed, signed and mailed to FDLE.FDLE will mail these forms to private schools upon request.

 

Here is the description of what is involved in screening process after your entity is signed up. You will be provided with a packet of information from the VECHS program. It will include:

A cover letter giving your account numbers to use. These are your Qualified Entity Numbers. One is for employees and contracted personnel and the other is for volunteers. While s. 1002.421, F.S. indicates that, in order to receive scholarship money, employees and contracted personnel must submit fingerprints, some schools may want to check volunteers as well. Using the volunteer entity number for checking volunteers will result in a reduced fee.

 

Forms and information for submitting fingerprints electronically. These forms are required regardless of whether your private school purchases a livescan device or if the employees and contracted personnel go to a “service provider” or another livescan device owner and have the fingerprints taken and submitted by this company.

 

Fingerprint cards and instructions on how to complete them. As of July 1, 2007, submissions for employees and contracted personnel must be made electronically. You have the choice of continuing to submit your volunteers via hard card fingerprint card or you can submit them electronically.

 

A Private Schools Waiver Agreement and Statement to be signed by each employee, contracted person or volunteer that you submit.

Contacts for criminal record repositories in other states which are useful in obtaining additional criminal history information.

Florida Clerks of Court and their contact information. This contact information may be needed when there is an arrest in Florida but the criminal record does not indicate whether the offender was convicted.

Instructions as to how a person can obtain his or her own criminal record for review and possible correction, which may be given to an employee, contracted person or volunteer.

 

A sample dissemination log which must be used if a private school shares criminal history information with another private school. Private schools may NOT share criminal history information with any VECHS entities except other private schools registered with VECHS. Private schools are the only VECHS entities authorized to receive sealed information and expunge notifications.

 

Similarly, private schools may not use criminal history results obtained for employees or contracted personnel for volunteers or vice versa. If a volunteer becomes an employee, that person’s fingerprints should be submitted again under the Employee Qualified Entity Number; the volunteer results should NOT be used to screen the candidate as an employee. Likewise, employee results should not be used to screen a person for a volunteer position. The rules for criminal history information sharing are included in the User Agreement, signed by all private schools participating in the VECHS program.

 

∗ Reminders of important provisions regarding the VECHS program.

∗ Fingerprint card submission checklist.

∗ Results definitions.

∗Instructions for procedures for “name‐based” searches from the FBI to be used when the subject’s fingerprints are rejected twice based on poor fingerprint quality.

 

Another question, what does the law mean when it says that fingerprints must be submitted electronically?

As of July 1, 2007, s. 1002.421, F.S. requires all fingerprint submissions for employees and contracted personnel be made electronically. Fingerprints submitted “electronically” are fingerprints taken on a “livescan” device and submitted electronically to FDLE. It can also include fingerprints taken with ink on a hard copy fingerprint card that are subsequently scanned and submitted electronically to FDLE. These electronic submissions are processed through FDLE’s Civil Workflow Control System.

 

Go ahead and ask, what is the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS)?

The Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS), pronounced “QUICKS”, is an automated system used to receive process and respond to electronic applicant submissions. Processing that once took several weeks with fingerprint cards now takes 24 – 72 hours with electronic submissions. CWCS allows different types of applicants to be scanned on a single device and allows input from a variety of livescan devices that adhere to FDLE and FBI standards and requirements.

 

Very natural question you may have, so what do I need to do to start submitting electronically?

 

∗ First, you must already be a registered VECHS entity.

∗ Second, you must complete the CWCS VECHS Customer Registration Form and return it to FDLE. Once the information is registered in our systems, you will receive an e‐mail notification that you can start submitting electronically.

∗ Third, you must make arrangement to be fingerprinted on a livescan device

 

You may ask where can I get fingerprinted on a livescan device and submit electronically.

 

Private schools have the following options in submitting fingerprints electronically:

∗ Purchase own livescan device. While the cost may be prohibitive it can be cost effective depending on the number of submissions necessary for your school.

∗ Use “service providers” like IDENTICO LLC to submit fingerprints electronically on your behalf.

∗ Inquire to other livescan device owners, such as local school boards, if they are willing to assist with your electronic submissions.

 

We know the biggest question you have, what are the costs associated with criminal history record checks for private school employees and contracted personnel?

The fee may vary from vendor to vendor, but certainly consider IDENTICO LLC as the most competitive livescan vendor with aggressive pricing. Our standard individual VECHS Employee screening rate is $54.25 and  VECHS Volunteer screening rate is only $47.25. There are some discounts available for larger groups, and it worth to consider since there is no traveling fee for groups of 10 or more employees at single location. We’ll come to you and fingerprint all teachers and volunteers with convenience and efficiency you haven’t seen before.

 

So you paid for the screening and fingerprinting, and you want to know how would you receive and view the criminal history results after submitting electronically?

Criminal history results for electronic submissions are posted to FDLE’s secure mail application called “CertifiedMail”. Once the criminal history results are ready, the private school will receive an e‐mail notification, containing the link to the application. The viewing of criminal history results will occur within this secure application.

 

There are several more frequently asked questions on fingerprinting for private schools in Florida; therefore our further questions will be in FAQ format.

 

What is meant by “retention of applicant fingerprints for reverse searches” and “arrest hit notifications”?

Section 1002.421, F.S. instructs FDLE to retain fingerprints submitted by the private school on or after July 1, 2007. Incoming Florida arrest fingerprints are searched against these retained private school fingerprints. If a fingerprint match is made on an individual, FDLE notifies the private school that the employee or contracted person was arrested, and provides the name of the county where the arrest occurred as well as contact information for the arresting agency. It is important to note fingerprints submitted prior to July 1, 2007, were not retained

 

What are the fees associated with the retention of prints?

The fee for the retention of applicant fingerprints is $6 per year per applicant. The retention of the fingerprints eliminates the necessity to have a future state criminal history record recheck at a cost of $24, since all incoming Florida arrest information is continuously compared to the retained applicant database. If a recheck is required, it would only need to be for a national criminal history record check.

 

To whom may my private school release criminal history information?

With the permission of the applicant, the criminal history information may be shared with other private schools registered with VECHS. Each VECHS private school agrees to only release criminal history information after confirming with FDLE the private school to which they are releasing the information is a current, registered VECHS entity. Such dissemination of criminal history information must be logged by noting what record was released, to whom it was released, and on what date it was released. Also, private schools are required to release the criminal history information to the Department of Education personnel consistent with the applicant’s approval on the waiver form.

 

Are owners under the same requirements as private school employees and contracted personnel?

The provisions in s.1002.42(2)(c)1, F.S., were not changed. Private school owners must have fingerprints taken and sent to FDLE for a state‐level criminal history record check upon taking ownership. FDLE will return the state criminal record or an indication that there is not a state record to the school so that it can be made available for public inspection and sent by the school to DOE. The owner fingerprint submissions must be on a fingerprint card that clearly indicates, “State check only”.

 

The owner’s fingerprint submission may not be submitted with the VECHS account information. If state and national criminal record checks are required as a part of scholarship funding, the owner will have to submit under VECHS in addition to the State Level check defined in s.1002.42 (2)(c) 1 F.S.

 

Now let us explain the definition of the word Criminal History Background Check: The term “background check” has been used interchangeably with “criminal history check” or “criminal history background check” which has caused some confusion. From the FDLE perspective, a background check is a criminal history record check to determine if a person has been arrested and/or convicted of a crime. Although some companies use the phrase background check to include drivers record checks, credit checks, or interviews with neighbors and employers, for purposes of this paper, it includes the search of following databases:

∗ The Florida Computerized Criminal History Central Repository for Florida Arrests (STATE CHECK);

∗ The Florida Computerized Criminal History Central Repository for Florida arrests AND the national criminal history database at the FBI for federal arrests and arrests from other states (STATE AND NATIONAL CHECK)

∗ The Florida Crime Information Center for warrants and domestic violence injunctions (HOT FILES CHECK)

 

The national check is based on the submission of fingerprints. For State checks, submissions maybe based on a name (or descriptors) or fingerprints.

Level 1 and Level 2 Background checks: Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks are terms used in Florida Statutes to convey the method of the criminal record check and the extent of the data searched, however, the terms may also refer to certain disqualifying offenses if certain statutes are used as reference. Level 1 and Level 2 are terms that pertain only to Florida and are not used by the FBI or other states. They are defined in Chapter 435, F.S., but are used elsewhere in statute without definition and appear not to be associated with all of the provisions in chapter 435.

 

∗ Level 1 generally refers to state only name based check AND an employment history check

∗ Level 2 generally refers to a state and national fingerprint based check and consideration of disqualifying offenses, and applies to those employees designated by law as holding positions of responsibility or trust. Section 435.04, mandates that Level 2 background security investigations be conducted on employees, defined as individuals required by law to be fingerprinted pursuant to Chapter 435

 

It should be noted that both the state and national criminal history databases can be searched for arrests, warrants, and other information pertaining to an individual, however neither database has the capability of searching for specific offenses on an individual records

 

What is the difference between the National Child Protection Act and Volunteers for Children Act?

Names you may hear that refer to the same federal law and its amendment are as follows: the National Child Protection Act, the Foley Act, and the Volunteers for Children Act. These laws are sometimes named for sponsors or persons who supported the new laws or amendments. For the purposes of the available criminal history information, these different names refer to the same basic law. Section 943.0542 of the 1999 Florida Statutes was enacted to implement this Federal legislation.

 

On what legislation the VECHS program based?

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement initiated the VECHS program in 1999, after the Florida Legislature enacted section 943.0542 of the Florida Statutes (1999). This statute is based upon the National Child Protection Act (NCPA), as amended. The federal guidelines for the NCPA offer further interpretations of the NCPA, along with mandates for states that chose to implement corresponding legislation and programs.

The federal guidelines apply to the interpretation of our legislation in Florida, and therefore, to the implementation of the VECHS program. Although FDLE desires to offer the broadest services and protection available under the authorizing legislation, we are not permitted to expand the coverage of the governing laws.

 

Please visit http://www.myidentico.com/answers-to-all-frequently-asked-questions-about-vechs-program/ for more details on VECHS program.

As FDLE authorized live scan vendor IDENTICO LLC does everything possible to support children and student safety in the communities and schools. If you are the entity approved to use VECHS screening, please contact us with any questions or quote requests. We’ll do everything possible to keep the cost of services affordable and the quality above standards. Please call (954) 239-8590/ toll-free (888) 988-8969 or visit our official webpage for more information on all background screening and fingerprinting needs.

 

Sincerely,

 

IDENTICO LLC.

Categories
AHCA Background Screening APD Background Screening DCF Background Screening

Level 2 Background Screening for Hospitals in Florida

The chief compliant officer for one of the Florida’s largest Health Care networks contacted us and requested more information about options on how hospital staff can be fingerprinted as part of Level 2 Background Screening.

 

Currently the Level 2 Background Clearance is required by AHCA only for hospital staff working within mental health or psychiatric units, hospitals’ CEO and CFO. However, we wanted to provide our potential client with all possible options, especially counting that network includes several children’s hospitals and NICU units.

 

The Letter

Dear, South Florida’s Leading Health Care Network.

We wanted to make a sufficiently broad research, including advice from a legal consultant before we responded with set of solutions IDENTICO may offer to your organization which includes numerous hospitals.

The answers were in FAQ format, and we decided to share it will all readers who may find these solutions interesting and appropriate for own healthcare facility.

 

1.      What does Level 2 Background Check refers to?

 

Level 2 Background Check is the term used in Florida Statutes to convey the method of the criminal history record check and the extent of the data searched. However, the terms may also refer to certain disqualifying offenses if certain statutes are referenced. Level 2 is the term that pertains only to Florida and is not used by the FBI or other states. They are defined in Chapter 435, Florida Statutes (F.S.), but are used elsewhere in statute without definition and appear not to be associated with all of the provisions in Chapter 435, F.S.

Level 2 generally refers to a state and national fingerprint based check and consideration of disqualifying offenses, and applies to those employees designated by law as holding positions of responsibility or trust. Section 435.04, F.S., mandates Level 2 security background investigations are conducted on employees, defined as individuals required by law to be fingerprinted pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S.

 

It should be noted that both the state and national criminal history databases can be searched for arrests, warrants, and other information pertaining to an individual. However, neither database has the capability of searching for specific offenses within an individual record.

 

2.      Is there a presumption against negligent hiring when an employer conducts a background investigation of a prospective employee?

 

Yes. Pursuant to Section 768.096, F.S., in the case of an intentional tort, an employer is presumed not to have been negligent in hiring an employee if before hiring the employee, the employer conducted a background investigation of the prospective employee and the information did not reveal any information that reasonably demonstrated unsuitability of the prospective employee for the work to be performed or for general employment. The background investigation must include a criminal background investigation.

The statute specifically provides if an employer requests and obtains from FDLE a state criminal history record check; the employer has satisfied the criminal background investigation requirement for the presumption.

 

3.      What are the requirements for a national criminal history record check?

 

National Check: The following must be in place, as required by the FBI, to receive a national criminal history record check:

 

  • A statute must exist as a result of a legislative enactment;
  • It must require the fingerprinting of applicants who are subject to a national criminal history record check;
  • It must expressly (“submit to the FBI”) or by implication (“submit for a national check”) authorize the use of FBI records for the screening of applicants;
  • It must identify the specific category(ies) of licensees/employees falling within its authority;
  • It must not be against public policy;
  • It may not authorize receipt of the criminal history record information by a private entity;
  • The recipient of the criminal history record check results must be a governmental entity;
  • The entity must sign a User Agreement indicating it will comply with the terms and conditions set forth in rule by the FBI; and
  • The fingerprint submission must be first processed through the state repository for a search of its records.

 

4.      What information from a state and national criminal history background check can be disclosed to a private employer?

 

Pursuant to federal law, regulatory and employing agencies may not share any information obtained from a state and national criminal history record check with a private entity. However, these agencies can indicate whether or not the person is eligible for licensing or employment based on their established criteria. Prior to being granted access to the records, authorized agencies must sign a Criminal Justice or Non-Criminal Justice User Agreement with FDLE agreeing to abide by state and federal law.

 

5.      Can a copy of the FDLE and FBI criminal record be provided to applicants if they are denied employment, licensing, or the opportunity to volunteer?

 

Yes. Applicants may be shown their own criminal record. A copy may also be provided, however, applicants must be cautioned the record may not be used for any other purpose. Applicants are not allowed to provide a copy of the record to any other organization.

 

6.      Is sealed or expunged information released as part of a criminal history record check?

 

Sealed information is disseminated only to those agencies authorized by provisions in Section 943.059, F.S. Agencies not specified in the statutes are not provided sealed criminal history information. Expunged criminal history information is not disseminated. However, a notification that a record has been expunged is provided to agencies consistent with provisions in Section 943.0585, F.S. Agencies not specified in the statutes are not provided the expunged notification.

 

7.      If a state and national criminal history record check is conducted, is it necessary to conduct a separate check of the sex offender registry for registered sex offenders?

 

No. If the state and national fingerprint based criminal his story record check is completed, the agency will be notified of all persons designated as sexual predators or offenders in Florida and in the national system.

 

8.      What is the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS)?

 

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) developed the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS). CWCS, pronounced “QUICKS”, is an automated system used to receive, process and respond to electronic requests for applicant criminal history record checks. Processing that once took several weeks with fingerprint cards now takes 24 to 72 hours with electronic submissions. CWCS allows different types of applicants to be scanned on a single device and allows input from a variety of livescan devices that adhere to FDLE and FBI standards and requirements.

 

9.      How long does it take to complete a state and national criminal history record check when fingerprints are submitted electronically?

 

Typically, state and national criminal history record checks are completed within two to three working days of receiving the electronic submission. When a transaction is complete within the CWCS system, the results are posted to Certified Mail, a secure FDLE web mail application. The results will include both state and national criminal history information, as well as any warrants and other information related to the individual.

 

A result notification email is sent to the email address designated by the customer and will contain a link to this Certified Mail application. This notification will also contain descriptive information specific to the transaction.

 

10.  When can a non-governmental agency receive the results of a state and national background check?

 

Non-governmental entities are not authorized to receive both state and national criminal history information under statutory licensing and employment provisions. The only time non-governmental entities are eligible to obtain national criminal history information is through the VECHS program.

 

11.  What is the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) program?

 

The VECHS program allows for qualified entities to obtain state and national criminal history record checks on individuals working with children, the elderly or the disabled.

 

12.  What is a “qualified entity”? Who can obtain criminal history background checks under the VECHS and Section 943.0542, Florida Statutes?

 

To qualify for the VECHS Program, an entity must provide some type of “care” or “care placement services” for children, the elderly or the disabled; even if it is only a limited part of the entity’s overall business. Once qualified to participate in the program, an entity may request criminal history information on all current and prospective employees and volunteers, not only those who work with vulnerable persons. A qualified entity may also request criminal history information on employees or volunteers who have or who seek to have unsupervised access to the populations described above.

 

“Qualified entities” are authorized to obtain criminal history record information as described under the NCPA and related federal guidelines. Under the NCPA and Florida statute, a “qualified entity” is a business or organization, whether public, private, for profit, not-for-profit, or voluntary, that provides care or care placement services, including a business or organization that licenses or certifies others to provide care or care placement services. “Care” means the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction, supervision, or recreation to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities.

 

13.  How does an organization enroll in the VECHS program?

 

If an entity meets the criteria of a “qualified entity”, they may download and complete a copy of the VECHS Qualified Entity Application and the VECHS User Agreement at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/BackgroundChecks or contact the VECHS Unit at (850) 410-VECHS (850-410-8324), to request a copy of each document.

 

14.  Can qualified entities share criminal history information with other qualified entities?

 

Yes. Criminal history information may be obtained from other VECHS entities, if the employee or volunteer agrees to this on the VECHS Waiver Statement and Agreement form, required to be signed when he/she was fingerprinted, and if the transfer of information is recorded by the other qualified entity on its Dissemination Log. The restrictions on this process are described in the User Agreement. Entities must contact the VECHS Unit at (850) 410-8324 for entity verification before sharing criminal history information.

 

We believe the FAQ was able to expose all key points of FBI Level 2 Background Screening. Here are the solutions your Health Care Network may decide to implement with IDENTICO’s involvement:

 

a)      Community Mental Health & Crisis Stabilization Units- Level 2 is required by AHCA, FS 435.04 & 394.875 (Adults) and DCF FS 394, 435.04 (mental health facilities and programs providing care for children). Owner / Administrator, Financial Officer, Employees and Contractors Providing Personal Care/Services, Employees that have access to client property, funds or living areas, Directors, Professional Clinicians, Staff Members and Volunteers.

 

b)      Hospital, Surgery Centers and Diagnostic-imaging centers – only CEOs and CFOs are required by Florida Law to go through statutory background screening. Fortunately VECHS program makes FBI Level 2 screening available for all Staff Members. This type of organizations have a high chance to fit under the description of “qualified entity” and establishing VECHS number shall not be very challenging. Each entity will have a separate VECHS “E” (Employee) and “V” (Volunteer) number. As a live-scan vendor IDENTICO will keep that information on file ready for every screening.

 

c)      The cost. If your Health Care Network elects to follow with such screening procedures, and IDENTICO is granted with an opportunity to exclusively offer the screening services, we will put all efforts to make the process as convenient and cost effective as possible. Our mobile units have the capacity to travel to all South Florida locations, no stress or hassle for employees. Our technicians are trained and certified. We possess both liability and property insurance, IDENTICO is liable for any damages which may possibly occur to costly live scan equipment, client facilities or employees during the scope of our services. Keeping potential volume and value of having your Health Network as the client in our mind, we are willing to be highly competitive and flexible with payment option and rates, and will be honored with opportunity to discuss it private meeting.

 

We assume there may be several questions you may need to be answered, therefore feel free to contact us anytime.

 

Best regards,

IDENTICO LLC

Office: (954) 239-8590

Fax: (954) 367-2256

www.myidentico.com

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.