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.”