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

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-28-409; Admin. Rules 016 15 CARR 017; 016 22 CARR 003; 016 22 CARR 004

Child maltreatment registry checks are required for the following persons in a child welfare agency:

  • An employee, volunteer, owner, or agency board member having direct and unsupervised contact with children
  • A foster parent and all household members age 14 and older, excluding children in foster care
  • An adoptive parent and all household members age 14 and older, excluding children in foster care

Criminal records checks are required for the following persons in a child welfare agency:

  • An employee, volunteer, owner, or agency board member having direct and unsupervised contact with children
  • Foster parents, house parents, and each member of the household age 18 1/2 and older, excluding children in foster care
  • Adoptive parents and each member of the household age 18 1/2 and older, excluding children in foster care

In regulation: Background checks are required for any relative or fictive kin who will be providing foster care. Records checks also are required for all owners, operators, and staff members of child care centers and home-based child care givers.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-28-409

A check of the central registry for reports of child maltreatment must be completed in the person's State of residence and any State of residence in which the person has lived for the past 5 years and in the person's State of employment, if different. All persons required to be checked with the registry shall repeat the check at a minimum of every 2 years, including adoptive parents who reside in Arkansas pending court issuance of a final decree of adoption, at which point repeat checks shall no longer be required.

Any person listed above shall be checked with the Identification Bureau of the Department of Arkansas State Police to determine if the person has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or has been found guilty of the offenses listed below. All persons required to be checked with the State police shall repeat the check at a minimum of every 5 years, except that adoptive parents who reside in Arkansas shall repeat the check every 2 years pending court issuance of a final decree of adoption, at which point repeat checks shall no longer be required.

Each person listed above who has not lived in Arkansas continuously for the past 5 years shall have a fingerprint-based criminal background check performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in compliance with Federal law and regulation.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-28-409

Each person required to have a criminal records check shall complete a criminal records check form developed by the Department of Human Services and shall sign the form that contains the following under oath before a notary public:

  • Certification that the person consents to the completion of the check
  • Certification that the person has not pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or been found guilty of a crime, and if the subject of the check has been convicted of a crime, contains a description of the crime and the particulars of the conviction
  • Notification that the person may challenge the accuracy and completeness of any information in any report and obtain a prompt determination as to the validity of the challenge before a final determination is made concerning his or her employment or licensing status
  • Notification that the person may be denied a license or exemption to operate a child welfare agency or may be denied unsupervised access to children in the care of a child welfare agency due to information obtained by the check that indicates that the subject of the check has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or been found guilty of or is under pending indictment for a crime listed below
  • Notification that any background check and the results thereof shall be handled in accordance with the requirements of P.L. 92-544

The owner or operator of the child welfare agency shall submit the criminal records check form to the State police for processing within 10 days of hiring the employee or volunteer, who shall remain under conditional employment or volunteerism until the required checks are completed.

In the event a legible set of fingerprints cannot be obtained after a minimum of two attempts by qualified law enforcement personnel, the board shall determine eligibility based upon a name check by the State police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-28-409

Any person required to be checked who is found to have any record of child maltreatment in the official record of the registry shall be reviewed by the owner or operator of the facility in consultation with the board to determine appropriate corrective action measures that would indicate, but are not limited to, training, probationary employment, or nonselection for employment.

A person who is required to have a criminal records check shall be absolutely and permanently prohibited from having direct and unsupervised contact with a child in care if that person has been found guilty of any of the following offenses:

  • Felony abuse of an endangered or impaired person
  • Arson
  • Murder
  • Endangering the welfare of an incompetent person in the first degree
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Aggravated assault upon a law enforcement officer or an employee of a correctional facility
  • Trafficking of persons

Except as provided below, a person shall not be eligible to have direct and unsupervised contact with a child in care if that person has been found guilty of any of the following offenses:

  • Assault, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a family or household member, or battery
  • Breaking or entering; burglary
  • Coercion
  • Computer crimes against minors
  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  • Criminal impersonation
  • Criminal use of a prohibited weapon
  • Communicating a death threat concerning a school employee or student
  • Domestic battery
  • Employing or consenting to the use of a child in a sexual performance
  • Endangering the welfare of a minor or an incompetent person
  • Engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print media
  • False imprisonment
  • Felony abuse of an endangered or impaired person
  • Felony interference with a law enforcement officer
  • A drug-related felony
  • Financial identity fraud or forgery
  • Incest
  • Interference with court-ordered custody or visitation
  • Introduction of a controlled substance into the body of another person
  • Manslaughter or negligent homicide
  • Obscene performance at a live public show
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Pandering or possessing visual or print medium depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child
  • Sexual solicitation
  • Permanent detention or restraint
  • Permitting the abuse of a minor
  • Producing, directing, or promoting a sexual performance by a child
  • Promoting obscene materials, an obscene performance, or prostitution
  • Prostitution
  • Public display of obscenity
  • Resisting arrest
  • Robbery or theft
  • Simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms
  • Soliciting money or property from incompetents
  • Stalking
  • Terroristic act or threatening
  • Transportation of minors for prohibited sexual conduct
  • Unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle
  • Voyeurism

A person who has been found guilty of one of the offenses listed above shall be disqualified unless:

  • The date of the finding of guilt for a misdemeanor offense is at least 5 years from the date of the records check.
  • There have been no criminal convictions of any type or nature during the 5-year period preceding the background check request.