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

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-6; Code of Rules §§ 18-006-104; 18-007-001

Background checks are required for each owner, operator, employee, prospective employee, volunteer, or prospective volunteer of the entity and/or any other that has or may have unsupervised access to a child served by the entity.

In regulation: Background checks must be completed for the following:

  • All household members who are at least age 14 in all foster care settings, including relative placements
  • Employees, volunteers, and student field placement individuals or interns who work directly with children for residential child-caring agencies
  • Persons seeking approval as a resource family home and adoptive family members
  • Persons serving as mentors to transitioning youth
  • All applicants and holders of a child care license, all applicants for employment in a paid or voluntary position (including board members), and all current employees in paid or voluntary positions in a child care facility

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-6; Code of Rules § 18-007-001

Each person or entity subject to a background check shall complete, through the appropriate governmental authority, a national criminal history record information check and a child abuse registry check.

In regulation: The licensing standards adopted by the Department of Human Services sets forth the specifics requirements for background checks.

Residential child-caring agencies shall have a personnel file for each employee that shall include the following:

  • Results of the criminal background and central registry checks that must be conducted prior to employment and annually
  • Results of a sex offender registry check that also must be conducted prior to employment and annually
  • Documentation of a satisfactory Mississippi State Criminal Information Center (CIC) check, including the National Criminal Information Database (NCID), within 30 days of employment and every 5 years thereafter

For resource homes, the following are required:

  • Criminal background and central registry checks, including fingerprinting, on all household members age 14 older
  • Background; criminal records, including fingerprinting; central registry, and sex offender registry checks on all household members age 14 older

For a prospective adoptive family, criminal background and central registry checks, including fingerprinting, on all household members age 14 older are required.

For all applicants and holders of a child care license, a review of past history is required. The review shall consist of the following components:

  • A local criminal history check
  • Clearance by the State central registry
  • Clearance of a fingerprint-based background check through the NCID and the CIC

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-6; Code of Rules § 18-007-001

In order to determine the applicant's suitability for employment, the entity shall ensure that the applicant be fingerprinted by local law enforcement and the results forwarded to the Department of Public Safety. If no disqualifying record is identified at the State level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history records check.

In regulation: Prospective resource parents shall complete an application form that shall include basic demographic information on all family members, a list of any criminal charges, and permission to perform criminal background and central registry checks and fingerprinting on all household members age 14 and older.

All applicants for a license and all staff members and applicants for employment in paid or voluntary positions must reveal on their application all past criminal convictions and/or charges, except for minor traffic violations, since age 16. Driving under the influence is not considered a minor traffic violation and must be reported to the department.

All applicants for a license and all staff members and applicants for employment in paid or voluntary positions shall submit authorization for release of Mississippi criminal information history check.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-6; Code of Rules § 18-007-001

An owner, operator, employee, prospective employee, volunteer, or prospective volunteer of the entity and/or any other that has or may have unsupervised access to a child who has a criminal history of conviction or pending indictment of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, that bears upon an individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children may not provide child care or operate, or be licensed as, a residential child care program, foster parent, or foster home.

In regulation: Any applicant or household member who has a criminal history of conviction or pending indictment of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, that bears upon an individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children may not provide child care or be licensed. Felony convictions include, but are not limited to, child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; crimes against children, including child pornography; and crimes involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide. If a records check reveals a felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense, and if a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the felony was committed, a final license shall not be granted.

No applicant shall be hired or volunteer services used if convicted for committing a crime, or convicted as an accessory to a crime, in this or another State at any time if a State court of competent jurisdiction has determined a felony conviction for any of the following:

  • Any abuse or neglect against a child
  • Any felony against a child
  • Any assault or abuse against a domestic partner or former domestic partner
  • Any crime that has violence or threat of violence against any person, including, but is not limited to, any sex-related crime
  • Rape in the first or second degree
  • Sodomy in the first or second degree
  • Sexual torture