Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers - New Hampshire

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 170-E:29; 170-E:29-a; 170-B:18

Background checks are required for persons who are responsible for the care of children or have regular contact with children, including the following:

  • Staff of foster family homes, institutions, and child-placing agencies
  • Prospective foster parents and any other adult living in the home
  • Personnel of child care institutions and child care agencies, including prospective employees, new household members, and any current household member who turns age 17

Background checks are required for all prospective adoptive parents and any other adult living in the home.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 170-E:29; 170-E:29-a; 170-B:18

For foster parent applicants, the background check shall consist of a fingerprint-based criminal records check of national crime information databases and a central registry check. For the criminal records check, the Department of Human Services shall submit the applicant's fingerprints to the Department of Safety, Division of State Police, for forwarding to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Upon completion of the criminal records check, the Division of State Police shall forward the results to the department.

For applicants for employment with child care institutions and agencies, a search of the following records must be completed:

  • New Hampshire sex offender and abuse and neglect registries
  • Sex offender and abuse and neglect registries of each State in which the individual resided in the past 5 years
  • The National Sex Offender Registry
  • The criminal history records of the State police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

For adoptive placements, the background check shall consist of a fingerprint-based criminal records check of national crime information databases for all prospective adoptive parents and any other adults living in the home, as well as a central registry check for all prospective adoptive parents and any other adult living in the home. The central registry check shall include a check of the department's central registry of founded reports of child abuse and neglect and a check of the child abuse and neglect registries in any other State in which the applicant and any other adult living in the home has resided in the preceding 5 years.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 170-E:29; 170-E:29-a; 170-B:18

For prospective employees, foster parents, and adoptive parents, the appropriate agency must submit the names, birth dates, and addresses of those persons to the department. The department shall review the names, birth names, birth dates, and current and previous addresses of the persons against the State child abuse and neglect registry. The department also shall submit the names, birth names, birth dates, and addresses to the State police to obtain information about criminal convictions.

For the criminal records check, the department shall submit the fingerprints of the applicants and any other adults living in the home to the Department of Safety, Division of State Police, for forwarding to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Upon completion of the criminal records check, the State police shall forward the results to the department.

For child care facilities, a person requiring a background check shall submit directly to the Department of Safety a criminal history records release form, as provided by the State police, to authorize the release of the person's criminal records, if any, to the department. The person shall submit with the release form a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency or an authorized employee of the Department of Safety.

The department shall review the applicant's name, birth dates, and current and previous addresses in the State child abuse and neglect registry. The Department of Safety shall submit the criminal history records release form to the State police, which shall conduct a criminal history records check through its records and through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 170-E:29; 170-E:29-a; Admin. Rules He-C 6448.13

An application shall be denied if the person has been convicted of any of the following:

  • A violent or sexually related crime against a child
  • A crime that shows that the person might be reasonably expected to pose a threat to a child, such as a violent crime or a sexually related crime against an adult

If any individual whose name has been submitted for this check has been convicted of crimes against minors or adults or is the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect, the department may deny the license or permit, revoke a license, or suspend a license pending the development and implementation of a corrective action plan approved by the department. The department shall conduct an investigation in accordance with rules adopted under this subdivision to determine whether the individual poses a present threat to the safety of children.

A child care facility may not employ any person if that person:

  • Is registered or required to be registered on a State sex offender registry or repository, or the National Sex Offender Registry
  • Has been convicted of any of the following crimes:
    • Murder
    • Felony child abuse or neglect
    • An offense involving child sexual abuse images
    • Trafficking
    • Spousal abuse
    • Rape or sexual assault
    • Kidnapping
    • Arson
    • Physical assault or battery
    • A drug-related offense committed during the previous 5 years
    • Any violent or sexually related misdemeanor or against a child, including child abuse, child endangerment, sexual assault, or a misdemeanor involving child sexual abuse images
    • A crime that shows that the person might be reasonably expected to pose a threat to a child, such as a violent crime or a sexually-related crime against an adult
  • Is the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect

In regulation: The adoptive parent applicant shall not have been convicted of child abuse or neglect or any other serious crime that would affect the ability to care for children.

If the check of the State child abuse and neglect central registry reveals a founded report for any member of the adoptive parent applicant's household, department staff, in cooperation with staff from the child-placing agency, shall conduct a complete review of the circumstances surrounding the report. After review, if the department determines that the household member poses no further threat to any child, the child-placing agency shall proceed with the application process.