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

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 31, § 309; Code of Regs. § 9-300-301(4)

All child-serving entities are required to complete background checks for prospective employees, volunteers, and contractors. 'Child-serving entities' include the following:

  • The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF), including any employees, volunteers, or contractors who have regular direct access to children
  • Residential child care facilities under contract with or operated by DSCYF
  • Public and private schools, including employees of the Department of Education
  • Child care providers
  • Youth camps or summer schools that are exempt from child care licensing requirements
  • Facilities and individuals registered and eligible for Federal Child Care Development Block Grant funds through the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services

An 'employee' is any person seeking employment for compensation with a child-serving entity or any person who for any reason has regular direct access to children at a child-serving entity. The term also includes applicants wishing to become adoptive, foster, or respite parents and their adult household members and any person seeking a student teaching placement in a public school.

In regulation: Background checks also shall be conducted on the following:

  • Petitioners in relative adoptions
  • Applicants for interstate adoption or foster placement when a child is from another State and is being placed in Delaware and when a Delaware child is being placed in another State
  • Household members age 18 and older in foster, respite, and adoptive homes

DSCYF may, when there is cause to believe the health, safety, or welfare of a child in care may be at risk, request consent from a parent or guardian for a background check on a household member younger than age 18.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 31, § 309

A background check for employees or volunteers of child-serving entities shall consist of a fingerprinted Delaware and national background check completed by the State Bureau of Identification (SBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as a child protection registry check completed by DSCYF.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 31, § 309

All child-serving entities are required to obtain criminal and child protection registry checks for prospective employees, volunteers, and contractors. The SBI shall furnish information pertaining to the identification and criminal history record of prospective employees, volunteers, and contractors of child-serving entities, provided that the prospective employee, volunteer, or contractor submits to a reasonable procedure established by standards set forth by the Superintendent of State Police to identify the person whose record is sought. Such procedure shall include the fingerprinting of the prospective employee and the provision of such other information as may be necessary to obtain a report of the person's entire criminal history record from SBI and a report of the person's entire Federal criminal history record pursuant to the FBI. The information to be furnished by SBI shall include child sex abuser information.

Any employer who is required to request a child protection registry check shall obtain a statement signed by the prospective employee, volunteer, or contractor wherein the person authorizes a full release for the employer to obtain the information provided pursuant to such a check. The DSCYF will process a check of the child protection registry.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 31, § 309; Code of Regs. § 9-300-301(6), (7)

The following criminal convictions or entries on the child protection registry shall prohibit an individual from being an employee, volunteer, or contractor for a child-serving entity for the amount of time indicated:

  • Felony convictions involving physical or sexual assault crimes against a child, an adult who is impaired, or elderly person require a lifetime prohibition.
  • Felony convictions involving physical or sexual assault crimes against another adult require a 10-year prohibition following the date of conviction.
  • Any other convictions for a violent felony not already included in the above paragraphs require a 7-year prohibition following the date of conviction, unless the felony is included within the crimes that can lead to entry on the child protection registry, in which case the length of time for the prohibition shall be as provided in the child protection registry regulations.
  • Misdemeanor convictions for crimes against children require a 7-year prohibition following the date of conviction, unless the misdemeanor is included within the crimes that can lead to entry on the child protection registry.

In regulation: People convicted of a prohibited offense or who are listed as active on the child protection registry for a prohibited substantiation shall be prohibited from employment, volunteering, contracting, or residing in a licensed or license exempt family child care home, or providing foster care, respite care, or adoption without consideration of other criteria.

The Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014 prohibits child care persons from employment, volunteering, substituting, contracting, or living in licensed child care centers, family child care homes, and license-exempt facilities and homes, if such person:

  • Refuses to consent to the background check
  • Knowingly makes a materially false statement in connection with the background check
  • Is registered or required to be registered on a State sex offender registry or the National Sex Offender Registry
  • Has been convicted of a felony consisting of murder; child abuse or neglect; a crime against children, including child pornography; spousal abuse; a crime involving rape or sexual assault; kidnapping; arson; physical assault or battery committed at any time
  • Has been convicted of a felony drug-related offense committed during the preceding 5 years
  • Has been convicted of a violent misdemeanor committed as an adult against a child, including the following crimes: child abuse, child endangerment, sexual assault, or child pornography at any time

Other convictions for offenses that may make an employee or contractor ineligible for employment or may make a prospective foster parent ineligible are those that may contain, but are not limited to, the following characteristics:

  • Criminal conviction against a person where physical harm or death has taken place
  • Criminal conviction involving weapons, explosive devices, or threat of harm
  • Criminal conviction involving public indecency and obscenity that may have been the result of plea bargain situations
  • Criminal conviction that shows a disregard of others, such as reckless endangering or arson
  • Criminal conviction of cruelty to animals or deviant behavior, such as abusing a corpse
  • Criminal conviction against the Uniform Controlled Substances Act