Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers - Alaska

Date: September 2018

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.14.100; Admin. Code Tit. 7, §§ 56.550; 56.660; 57.315; 10.900

For the purpose of determining whether the home of a relative meets the requirements for placement of a child, the Department of Health and Social Services shall conduct a criminal background check from State and national criminal justice information. The department may conduct a fingerprint background check on any member of the relative's household who is age 16 or older when the relative requests placement of the child.

In regulation: An agency shall conduct a home study that includes background checks on the following persons:

  • All adults living in the home of an applicant being considered as a foster family home or foster group home
  • All adults living in the home of a family being considered as an adoptive or guardianship home
  • An individual associated with a child care facility

Requirements for background checks also apply to an entity or individual service provider seeking licensure, certification, approval, or a finding of eligibility to receive payments from the department. Each individual who is to be associated with the entity or provider must be checked if that individual is age 16 or older and will be associated with the entity or provider as an individual service provider or an employee, independent contractor, or unsupervised volunteer if that individual has regular contact with recipients of services.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7 §§ 10.910; 10.915; 57.315

An individual listed above must request a criminal history check or provide proof of a valid fingerprint-based criminal history check. The department will screen a request for a criminal history check through:

  • The registry of certified nurse aides
  • The central registry of sex offenders and child kidnappers
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, database of individuals and entities excluded under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1320a-7 and 1320c-5
  • Any other registry or database determined by the department to be relevant to the screening being conducted, including professional licensing registries and any registry or database maintained by another State where that individual has resided

The department also will review the criminal justice information supplied by the Department of Public Safety, court, or other applicable government agency records, and the national criminal history records check supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to determine whether a barrier crime exists for the individual who is the subject of the criminal history check.

In addition, for each caregiver, employee, and other individual age 16 or older who is associated with a child care facility, the department may review the following:

  • Child protection records
  • An evaluation from a probation officer, health professional, or mental health professional affirming that the individual is free from problems that might pose a significant risk to the health, safety, or welfare of a child in the facility
  • Child care licensing records

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, §§ 10.910; 10.915

Each request for a background check must include the following:

  • A release of information authorization, on a form provided by the department, signed by the individual for whom the request is submitted
  • A signed authorization form permitting the department to mark the individual's name in the Alaska Public Safety Information Network (APSIN)
  • One set of fingerprints for the individual for whom the request is submitted
  • A signed statement from the individual who took the fingerprints, attesting that at least one government-issued picture identification was used to verify the identity of the individual fingerprinted
  • The fees required by the Department of Public Safety
  • An additional $25 application fee

A valid background check means the following:

  • The items listed above were submitted to the department.
  • The department determined that a barrier crime or condition did not exist.
  • The applicant's name has been marked in APSIN on a continuous basis, and the applicant has not had the background check revoked, made invalid, or rescinded.

For each request for a background check, the department will mark in APSIN the name of the applicant who was the subject of the background check. If the department receives notification under APSIN of law enforcement activity or a civil action for an applicant, the department will review the information. If the department determines that the activity creates a barrier, the department will immediately notify the provider and the applicant. The department will include in the notification the following information:

  • The department intends to revoke the valid background check.
  • The applicant may request reconsideration if the applicant believes there was an error in the information relied upon by the department.
  • If the applicant wishes to disclose the barrier crime or condition to the provider, the provider may request a variance.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 10.905

A barrier crime or condition is a criminal offense or civil finding that prohibits a provider or an applicant from being approved under § 10.990. The following are permanent barriers, including the attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the following crimes or to violate a law or ordinance of this or another jurisdiction with similar elements:

  • A felony offense against a person or a crime involving domestic violence
  • A felony that involves a victim who was a child under age 18 years at the time of the conduct, including a crime involving a perpetrator who was a person responsible for the child's welfare
  • Third-degree assault
  • Indecent exposure
  • Arson
  • Endangering the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Failure to register as a sex offender or child kidnapper
  • Distribution of child pornography
  • Inducing or causing a minor to engage in sex trafficking
  • Any sex offense that is not already listed above

Ten-year barrier crimes include the following:

  • Stalking
  • An offense against property, including theft, fraud, burglary, criminal mischief, or forgery
  • Terroristic threatening, if it is a crime involving domestic violence
  • An offense against public order, including misconduct involving weapons and criminal possession of explosives
  • Promoting prostitution, if the person who was induced to engage in prostitution was age 18 or older
  • Misconduct involving a controlled substance
  • Delivery of an imitation controlled substance to a minor

Five-year barrier crimes include the following:

  • An offense against the person, including fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, custodial interference, or coercion
  • Second-degree endangering the welfare of a child
  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  • Failure to report a violent crime committed against a child
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Promoting the prostitution of a person age 18 or older
  • Fourth-degree drug-related offense

Three-year barrier crimes include the following:

  • Third-degree theft
  • Crimes involving domestic violence, including criminal trespass, violating a protective order, or criminal mischief
  • Interfering with a report of a crime involving domestic violence

A 10-year barrier may be imposed based upon a civil finding relating to abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult for any case that did not result in the termination of parental rights. If, however, parental rights were relinquished or terminated, the barrier is permanent.