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

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 385.20; 385.30; 402.28

Persons subject to background checks include the following:

  • Applicants for foster family home licensure and members of the household
  • Relative caregivers and members of the household prior to a final placement decision in a relative home
  • Operators and all current and conditional employees of a child care facility
  • All direct child welfare agency employees
  • Any person who is used to replace or supplement staff
  • Any person, including nonlicensed service providers, who provides services that allow unsupervised access to children

If the child care facility operates in a family home, the license applicants and all members and prospective members of the household age 13 and older are subject to background checks, as appropriate, even if these members of the household are not usually present in the home during the hours the child care facility is in operation.

Nonlicensed service providers who, on a regular basis, provide care in the provider's home to a child for whom the Department of Children and Family Services is legally responsible and all members of the household age 13 or older are subject to background checks.

For a final placement decision in a relative home, the relative and all members of the household age 18 and over are subject to criminal background checks.

Prospective adoptive parents and prospective guardians also are subject to background checks.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 385.20; 385.30

A background check includes the following:

  • A criminal history check via fingerprints of persons age 18 and older that are submitted to the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for comparison to their criminal history records, or the National Crime Information Database, when applicable, for prospective foster and adoptive parents
  • A check of the child abuse and neglect tracking system and other State child protection systems, or the national registry, as appropriate, to determine whether an individual is currently alleged or has been indicated as a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect
  • A check of the Illinois sex offender registry and the national sex offenders registry, as appropriate

For prospective foster or adoptive parents or other adults living in the home who resided in another State in the preceding 5 years, the department shall request a check of that other State's child abuse and neglect registry and the National Sex Offender Registry.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 225, § 10/4.1

Each child care facility license applicant, as part of the application process, and each employee and volunteer of a child care facility or nonlicensed service provider, as a condition of employment, shall authorize an investigation to determine if such applicant, employee, or volunteer has ever been charged with a crime and, if so, the disposition of those charges. The authorization shall indicate the scope of the inquiry and the agencies that may be contacted. Upon this authorization, the department shall request and receive information and assistance from any Federal, State, or local governmental agency as part of the authorized investigation.

Each applicant, employee, or volunteer of a child care facility or nonlicensed service provider shall submit his or her fingerprints to the Department of State Police in the form and manner prescribed by the Department of State Police. These fingerprints shall be checked against the fingerprint records now and hereafter filed in the Department of State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history records databases. The Department of State Police shall charge a fee for conducting the criminal history records check, which shall be deposited in the State Police Services Fund and shall not exceed the actual cost of the records check. The Department of State Police shall provide information concerning any criminal charges, and their disposition, now or hereafter filed, against an applicant, employee, or volunteer of a child care facility or nonlicensed service provider upon request of the Department of Children and Family Services when the request is made in the form and manner required by the Department of State Police.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 225, § 10/4.2

No applicant who refuses to authorize an investigation will be approved. In addition, no applicant may receive a license who has been declared a sexually dangerous person or has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit any offense listed in statute, including the following:

  • Murder or manslaughter
  • A sex offense
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated battery of a child
  • Criminal sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual abuse
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm
  • Drug-induced infliction of great bodily harm
  • Stalking
  • Child abandonment
  • Endangering the life or health of a child
  • Ritual mutilation
  • Ritualized abuse of a child
  • An offense in any other jurisdiction the elements of which are similar and bear a substantial relationship to any of the above offenses
  • Felony domestic battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Felony violation of an order of protection
  • Felony contributing to the criminal delinquency of a juvenile
  • A drug-related offense

In addition to the above provisions, no applicant may receive a license to operate a foster family home, and no adult person may reside in a foster family home, who has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit any of the following offenses:

  • Kidnapping and related offenses
  • Felony aggravated assault
  • Felony domestic battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Felony violation of an order of protection
  • Offenses directed against property, including robbery, burglary, or arson
  • Weapons-related offenses
  • Obstructing justice
  • Felony contributing to the criminal delinquency of a juvenile
  • Drug-related offenses

The department may make an exception and issue a foster family home license, provided all of the following requirements are met:

  • The relevant criminal offense or offenses occurred more than 10 years prior to the date of application.
  • The applicant had previously disclosed the conviction or convictions to the department for purposes of a background check.
  • After the disclosure, the department either placed a child in the home or the foster family home license was issued.
  • During the background check, the department had assessed and waived the conviction in compliance with the existing statutes and rules in effect at the time of the hire or licensure.
  • The applicant meets all other requirements and qualifications to be licensed as a foster family home.
  • The applicant has a history of providing a safe, stable home environment and appears able to continue to provide a safe, stable home environment.