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

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.462; 199.896; Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

Background checks are required for the following persons or entities:

  • Foster parents or relative caregivers
  • Fictive kin
  • Prospective adoptive parents
  • Directors and employees of child-care centers in positions that involve supervisory or disciplinary power over a minor or direct contact with a minor

In regulation: Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • An individual who applies for approval or has been approved to provide foster or adoptive services
  • A caretaker relative, fictive kin, or kinship caregiver
  • A youth age 12 through 17 who resides in the home
  • An adult age 18 or older who resides in the home

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

A background check shall include the following:

  • An in-State criminal records check by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet or the Administrative Office of the Courts
  • A child abuse or neglect check conducted by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for each State of residence during the past 5 years
  • A criminal records check conducted by means of a fingerprint check of the Criminal History Record Information administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • An address check of the sex offender registry

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.462; Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

Before an applicant is approved to provide foster care or relative caregiver services to a child, or approved to receive a child for adoption, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall:

  • Require a criminal background investigation of the applicant and any of the applicant's adult household members by means of a fingerprint check by the Department of Kentucky State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Request from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet records of all conviction information for the applicant and any of the applicant's adult household members

The request for records shall be on a form approved by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet may charge a fee to be paid by the applicant for the actual cost of processing the request.

In regulation: Prior to approval of an applicant, a child-placing agency shall request a child abuse or neglect check, a criminal records check, and an address check of the sex offender registry by submitting to the cabinet the following:

  • The appropriate completed form
  • The documentation required to request a child abuse or neglect check from the child welfare agency in each previous State of residence, if the applicant or adult household member has resided outside of the State of Kentucky in the previous 5 years

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

A Kentucky child abuse or neglect check conducted by the cabinet shall identify the name of each applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household:

  • Has been found by the cabinet to have:
    • Committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
    • Been responsible for a child fatality or near fatality related to abuse or neglect
    • Abused or neglected a child within the 7-year period immediately prior to the application
    • Had parental rights terminated
  • A matter pending administrative review

An applicant shall not be approved if:

  • A criminal records check reveals that the applicant or adult member of the household has a felony conviction involving the following:
    • A spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death as described by 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)
    • Physical abuse, battery, or a drug-related or alcohol-related offense within the 5-year period prior to application
    • A criminal conviction relating to child abuse or neglect
    • A civil judicial determination related to child abuse or neglect
  • A child abuse or neglect check reveals that the applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household has been found to have:
    • Committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
    • Been responsible for a child fatality or near fatality related to abuse or neglect
    • Had parental rights terminated involuntarily in accordance with §§ 625.050 through 625.120 or another State's laws
  • An address check of the sex offender registry and supporting documentation confirms that a sex offender resides at the applicant's home address.

An applicant, fictive kin, or caregiver relative may be approved on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An adolescent member of the household has:
    • Been found by the cabinet to have abused or neglected a child
    • Had parental rights terminated voluntarily in accordance with §§ 625.040 through 625.046 or another State's laws
  • An adult member of the household has:
    • Been convicted of a nonviolent felony or misdemeanor
    • Been found to have abused or neglected a child
    • Had parental rights terminated voluntarily