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

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 245A.03; 245C.03

An individual, corporation, partnership, voluntary association, or other organization must be licensed before engaging in any of the following activities:

  • Operating a residential or a nonresidential program
  • Receiving a child or adult for care, supervision, or placement in foster care or adoption
  • Helping to plan the placement of a child or adult in foster care or adoption or engage in placement activities in this State, whether or not the adoption occurs in this State

In order to provide foster care for a child, an individual who is related to the child, other than a parent or legal guardian, must be licensed by the Department of Human Services.

For licensed programs, the department shall conduct a background study on the following:

  • The person or persons applying for a license
  • An individual age 13 and older, other than a person receiving services, who is living in the household where the licensed program will be provided
  • Current or prospective employees or contractors of the applicant who will have direct contact with persons served by the program
  • Volunteers or student volunteers who will have direct, unsupervised contact with persons served by the program
  • An individual age 10 to 12 living in the household where the licensed services will be provided when the department has reasonable cause
  • An individual who, without providing direct contact services at a licensed program, may have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults receiving services from a program, when the department has reasonable cause
  • All managerial officials
  • Child care background study subjects

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 245C.08

A background study conducted by the department shall include a review of the following:

  • Information related to names of substantiated perpetrators of maltreatment of vulnerable adults
  • The department's records relating to the maltreatment of minors in licensed programs and from findings of maltreatment of minors as indicated through the social service information system
  • Information from juvenile courts when there is reasonable cause
  • Information from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, including information regarding a background study subject's registration in Minnesota as a predatory offender
  • Information from the National Crime Information System when the department has reasonable cause

For a background study related to a child foster care application for licensure, a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of a child, or adoptions, the department also shall review the following:

  • Information from the child abuse and neglect registry for any State in which the background study subject has resided for the past 5 years
  • Information from National Crime Information Databases, when the background study subject is age 18 or older

For a background study required for family child care, certified license-exempt child care centers, licensed child care centers, and legal nonlicensed child care, the background study also shall include, to the extent practicable, a name and date-of-birth search of the national sex offender public website.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 245C.05

The individual who is the subject of the background study must provide sufficient information to ensure an accurate study, including the following:

  • The individual's first, middle, and last name and all other names by which the individual has been known
  • The current home address, city, and State of residence, including zip code
  • His or her sex and date of birth
  • His or her driver's license number or State identification number

Every subject of a background study also must provide the home address, city, county, and State of residence for the past 5 years.

Every subject of a background study related to private-agency adoptions or relative child foster care licensed through a private agency, who is age 18 or older, also shall provide to the department a signed consent for the release of any information received from National Crime Information Databases to the private agency that initiated the background study.

For background studies conducted by the department for child foster care, adoptions, or a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of a child, the subject of the background study, who is age 18 or older, shall provide the commissioner with a set of classifiable fingerprints obtained from an authorized agency. In addition, the subject shall provide a photograph.

The applicant, license holder, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, law enforcement agencies, Commissioner of Health, and county agencies shall help with the study by giving the department criminal conviction data and reports about the substantiated maltreatment of adults or minors.

The background study subject must be informed that the subject's fingerprints collected for purposes of completing the background study must not be retained by the Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, or by the department but will be retained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 245C.15; 259.41

An individual is permanently disqualified if he or she has been convicted of any of the following offenses:

  • Violation of the predatory offender registration law
  • Murder or manslaughter
  • First- or second-degree assault, domestic assault, or spousal abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect or a crime against children
  • Great bodily harm caused by distribution of drugs
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder of an unborn child
  • Solicitation, inducement, and promotion of prostitution
  • Criminal sexual conduct
  • Criminal sexual predatory conduct
  • Solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct
  • Incest
  • Malicious punishment of a child
  • Felony-level neglect or endangerment of a child
  • First-degree arson
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Felony-level stalking
  • Shooting at or in a public transit vehicle or facility
  • Indecent exposure involving a minor
  • Use of minors in a sexual performance
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Aiding, abetting, attempt, or conspiracy to commit any offense listed above
  • Conviction of a similar offense in any other State or country

An individual is disqualified if less than 15 years have passed since the discharge of the sentence imposed for the commission of any of the following felony-level offenses:

  • Public assistance fraud
  • Weapons-related crimes
  • Criminal vehicular homicide and injury
  • Assault
  • Criminal abuse or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult
  • False imprisonment
  • Manslaughter or assault of an unborn child
  • Indecent exposure not involving a minor
  • A felony-level conviction involving alcohol or drug use
  • Aiding, abetting, attempt, or conspiracy to commit any offense listed above
  • Conviction of a similar offense in any other State or country

An individual is disqualified if less than 15 years has passed since the termination of the individual's parental rights.

An individual is disqualified if less than 10 years have passed since the discharge of the sentence imposed for the commission of any the following gross misdemeanor-level offenses:

  • Criminal vehicular homicide and injury
  • Assault or domestic assault
  • Neglect or endangerment of a child
  • Weapons violations
  • Violation of an order for protection under § 518B.01, subdivision 14
  • Aiding, abetting, attempt, or conspiracy to commit any offense listed above
  • Conviction of a similar offense in any other State or country

An individual is disqualified if less than 7 years has passed since the discharge of the sentence imposed for the commission of a misdemeanor-level violation of any the offenses listed in statute.

A home study prepared for a prospective adoptive parent that is used to consider placement of any child on whose behalf title IV-E adoption assistance payments are to be made must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction at any time for any of the following:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • A crime against children, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide but not including other physical assault or battery

A home study must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction within the past 5 years for physical assault or battery or a drug-related offense.