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

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-15-3; Admin. Code § 8.26.4.16

Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • All operators, staff, and employees, and prospective operators, staff, and employees, of child care facilities and juvenile detention, correction, or treatment facilities
  • All prospective foster or adoptive parents and other adult relatives and nonrelatives residing in the prospective foster or adoptive parent's household

In regulation: Relatives who provide foster care to children in State custody must be licensed and are required to undergo background checks.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-15-3; Admin. Code §§ 8.26.4.10; 8.26.4.11

Nationwide criminal history records checks are required for all persons listed above.

In regulation: The background check shall include the following:

  • State and Federal criminal records checks
  • An additional criminal records check of the applicant and all adults living in the applicant's home through a search of nmcourts.com
  • A check for abuse and neglect referrals

If the applicant or any other adult living in the home resided in any State(s) other than New Mexico in the 5 years prior to the date of the application, the Protective Services Division (PSD) shall request that each such State review its abuse and neglect information system or registry for information on the applicant or other adults living in the home and submit the results of that review to PSD.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-15-3; Admin. Code §§ 8.26.4.10; 8.26.4.11

The Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) shall fingerprint all persons who are required to obtain background checks. CYFD shall conduct the background checks and shall submit a fingerprint card for those individuals to the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for this purpose.

In regulation: The CYFD Criminal Records Checks (CRC) unit conducts Federal and State criminal records checks for all applicants and adults living in the home. PSD placement staff or agency staff shall submit to the CYFD CRC unit two completed fingerprint cards for each applicant and adult living in the applicant's home.

For families seeking to become foster or adoptive homes through agencies other than PSD, the agency shall submit, at the time they submit fingerprint cards, a signed PSD-approved 'abuse and neglect check for prospective foster or adoptive parents' form to request that the CRC unit conduct a review for abuse and neglect referrals on the applicant and each adult living in the applicant's home.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 8.26.4.10; 8.26.4.11

Licensure shall not be approved in any case in which the CRC results for the applicant or any adult living in the applicant's home reveal any of the following federally mandated automatic disqualifiers:

  • A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect
  • A felony conviction for spousal abuse
  • A felony conviction for a crime against children, including child pornography
  • A conviction for any crime involving violence such as rape, sexual assault, or homicide but does not include other physical assault or battery
  • A felony conviction within the past 5 years for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense

Applicants who have a conviction for crimes other than those noted above are not automatically disqualified; however, this information shall be used to determine suitability for licensure. All police or court records relating to the applicant or other adult living in the home shall be considered in determining suitability for licensure.

If the applicant or any adult living in the applicant's home has been the subject of a substantiated allegation of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse of a child, or has been substantiated for child abuse that resulted in a child fatality, then the applicant shall not be licensed.

In the event of a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect, other than substantiated sexual exploitation or sexual abuse as listed above, involving the applicant or any adult living in the home, the application is assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the safety of any child in the home can be assured. This information shall be used to determine suitability for licensure.

Persons who have been referred to PSD for investigation of allegations of child abuse or neglect or exploitation may be considered for licensure. The best interests of children are paramount. Licensure may be denied based on the professional judgment of the licensing agent.