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

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 237.8; 600.8; 237A.5; Admin. Code §§ 441-113.13; 441-107.8

The following persons are subject to records checks:

  • An individual subject to licensure as a foster parent
  • A person being considered for licensure or for employment involving direct responsibility for a child or with unsupervised access to a child when the child is alone
  • A person who will reside in a facility utilized by a licensee
  • A prospective adoptive parent
  • A person being considered for licensure or registration to operate a child care facility

In regulation: Record checks are required for each foster parent applicant, prospective adoption applicant, and for anyone who is age 14 or older living in the home of the applicant.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 441-113.13; 441-107.8

Each applicant and anyone who is age 14 or older living in the home of the applicant shall be checked for records with the following:

  • The Iowa central abuse registry
  • The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for a criminal history records check
  • The Iowa sex offender registry
  • Iowa Courts Online

Each applicant and any other adult living in the household also shall be checked for records on the child abuse registry of any State where the person has lived during the past 5 years.

Each foster parent applicant also shall also be fingerprinted for a national criminal history check. Other adults living in the home may be fingerprinted if the department determines that a national criminal history check is warranted.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code § 237.8; Admin. Code §§ 441-113.13; 441-107.8

For a person is being considered for licensure, the Department of Human Services shall conduct criminal and child abuse records checks in this State and may conduct these checks in other States. The evaluation shall be performed in accordance with procedures adopted for this purpose by the department.

For an individual subject to licensure as a foster parent, in addition to the records checks conducted under the above paragraph, the individual's fingerprints shall be provided to the Department of Public Safety for submission through the State criminal history repository to Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check.

In regulation: Records checks are required for each foster parent applicant and for anyone who is 14 years of age or older living in the home of the applicant. The purpose of the records checks is to determine whether any of these persons has any founded child abuse reports or criminal convictions or has been placed on the sex offender registry. The department's contractor for the recruitment and retention of resource families shall assist applicants in completing required records checks, including fingerprinting.

The certified adoption investigator shall perform records checks for each applicant and for the other persons living in the home of the applicant.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 237.8; 600.8; 237A.5

An individual applying to be a foster or adoptive parent shall not be approved if the individual has been convicted of any of the following felony offenses:

  • Child endangerment or neglect or abandonment of a dependent person
  • Domestic abuse
  • A crime against a child, including but not limited to sexual exploitation of a minor
  • A forcible felony
  • A drug-related offense within the 5-year period preceding the application date

A person applying for licensure to provide child care can be disqualified if a records check indicates that the person has committed any of the following transgressions:

  • Conviction of a crime
  • A record of having committed founded child or dependent adult abuse
  • Listing in the sex offender registry
  • A record of having committed a public or civil offense
  • A previous revocation of a child care facility registration or license due to the person's continued or repeated failure to operate the facility in compliance with rules and regulations