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

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-551

The following facilities shall require employees and employers to obtain a criminal history records check:

  • A child care center, a child care home, or a child care institution
  • A family child care home or large family child care home
  • A juvenile detention, correction, or treatment facility
  • A public, private, or nonpublic school
  • A foster care family home or group facility
  • A recreation center, recreation program, or a day or residential camp primarily serving minors
  • A home health agency or residential service agency licensed to provide home- or community-based health services for minors

A contractor or subcontractor shall require an employee that will have direct, unsupervised, and uncontrolled access to children in a facility listed above to obtain a criminal history records check.

The following individuals shall obtain a criminal history records check:

  • A prospective adoptive parent
  • A prospective guardian
  • An adult relative with whom a child is placed by the local department
  • Any adult known to be residing in:
    • A family child care home or large family child care home
    • A home where informal child care is being provided
    • A foster care home
    • The home of a prospective adoptive parent, a prospective guardian, or an adult relative of a child with whom the child is placed by the local department
  • An individual who agrees to provide informal child care
  • If requested by a local department:
    • A parent or guardian of a child who is committed to the local department and is or has been placed in an out-of-home placement within the past year
    • Any adult known to be residing in the home of the parent or guardian

An employer at a facility listed above may require a volunteer to obtain a criminal history records check. A local department may require a volunteer who works with children to obtain a criminal history records check.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-551; Code of Rules §§ 07.02.25.04; 07.02.25.10

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an employee and employer in a facility identified above and individuals listed above shall apply for a national and State criminal history records check at any designated law enforcement office in this State or other location approved by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

In regulation: Before a resource home may be approved, an applicant and all household members age 18 and older shall apply for a State and Federal criminal background investigation. Before a resource home is approved, the local department shall request information from the State-maintained child abuse and neglect registry of any State in which an applicant or another adult in the household has lived within the past 5 years.

In order to approve a relative as a kinship parent, a local department shall conduct State and Federal criminal background checks and child protective services clearances.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-552; 5-553; 5-554; Code of Rules §§ 07.02.25.04; 07.02.25.10

As part of the application for a criminal history records check, the employee, employer, and individual identified above shall submit the following:

  • A complete set of legible fingerprints at any designated State or local law enforcement office in the State or other location approved by the department
  • A signed, sworn statement disclosing the existence of a criminal conviction or other judicial disposition

The department shall conduct the criminal history records check. Upon completion of the criminal history records check, the department shall submit the printed statement to the appropriate child-placing or registering agency. A printed statement issued under this section is valid in any county in the State.

In regulation: Before a resource home is approved, the local social services department shall request information from the State-maintained child abuse and neglect registry of any State in which an applicant or another adult in the household has lived within the past 5 years to determine whether an individual in the household has a prior indicated finding of abuse or neglect. If the review of the records reveals a pending investigation, a decision may not be made as to the use of the home until the investigation is complete.

For a kinship placement, each household member age 18 or older shall apply for State and Federal criminal background checks and child protective services clearances. The local department shall request information from the records of any State in which an adult in the household has lived within the past 5 years to determine whether an adult in the household has a prior indicated finding of abuse or neglect.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Code of Rules §§ 07.02.25.04; 07.02.25.10

The department may not approve or continue to approve as a resource home any home in which an adult in the household:

  • Has a felony conviction for any of the following:
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • Spousal abuse
    • A crime against a child or children, including child pornography
    • A crime of violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide but not including other physical assault or battery
    • Human trafficking
  • In the 5 years before the date of the application, has a felony conviction involving any of the following:
    • Physical assault or battery
    • A drug-related offense

The department may not approve or continue to approve as a resource home any home in which an individual has an indicated child abuse or neglect finding. An exception may not be made unless approval is given in writing by the local director.

For a prospective kinship placement, the local department shall request information from the records of any State in which an adult in the household has lived within the past 5 years to determine whether an adult in the household has a prior indicated finding of abuse or neglect. The local department also shall obtain a certification signed by each prospective kinship parent stating that they have no prior criminal record or indicated findings of child abuse or neglect.

The local department may not approve, or continue to approve as a placement, any home in which an adult in the household:

  • Has a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; a crime against children; child pornography; or a crime of violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide but not including other physical assault or battery
  • In the 5 years before the date of the request for a criminal background check, has a felony conviction involving physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense

The local department may not approve or continue to approve for kinship care any home in which an individual has an indicated child abuse or neglect finding. An exception may be made only upon approval in writing by the local director.