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

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Soc. Serv. §§ 378-a; 390-b; Code of Rules Tit. 18, § 443.7

Criminal history background checks must be completed for the following persons:

  • Any prospective foster parent or prospective adoptive parent
  • A prospective successor guardian
  • Any person over age 18 who is currently residing in the home of a person listed above
  • Any operator, employee, or volunteer of a child daycare center or school-age child care provider

In regulation: A completed statewide central register database check is required for certifying or approving potential emergency foster homes and emergency relative foster homes.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Soc. Serv. § 378-a; Dom. Rel. § 112; Code of Rules Tit. 18, § 443.10

The criminal history background check includes a check of records in any State or Federal jurisdiction.

An adoption home study includes a check of the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

In regulation: The procedure for renewal and reopening certified foster homes includes the following:

  • The completion of a criminal history records check
  • A database check through the central register and the check of the Justice Center's register of substantiated category-one cases of abuse or neglect

If the adult spouse resided in another State at any time during the 5 years preceding a new application, a request must be made for child abuse and maltreatment information maintained in the child abuse and maltreatment registry from the applicable child welfare agency in the State of previous residence.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Soc. Serv. § 378-a

For each person subject to a background check, an authorized agency shall perform a criminal history records check with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. The Division of Criminal Justice Services is authorized to submit fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of a nationwide criminal history records check to determine whether the person being investigated has a criminal history in any State or Federal jurisdiction.

Every authorized agency shall obtain a set of fingerprints for the person being investigated, and such other information as is required by the Office of Children and Family Services and the Division of Criminal Justice Services. The authorized agency shall provide to the applicant blank fingerprint cards and a description of how the completed fingerprint cards will be used upon submission to the authorized agency. The authorized agency shall promptly transmit the fingerprint cards to the Office of Children and Family Services. The Office of Children and Family Services shall promptly submit the fingerprint cards to the Division of Criminal Justice Services for its full search and processing.

The Division of Criminal Justice Services shall promptly provide to the Office of Children and Family Services a criminal history record, if any, with respect to the person being investigated, or a statement that the individual has no criminal history record.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Soc. Serv. § 378-a

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, an application for certification or approval of a prospective foster or adoptive parent shall be denied when the criminal history record reveals a conviction for any of the following:

  • A felony conviction at any time involving any of the following:
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • Spousal abuse
    • A crime against a child, including child pornography
    • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, other than a crime involving physical assault or battery
  • A felony conviction within the past 5 years for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense

An application for certification or approval of a prospective foster or adoptive parent may be denied when:

  • A criminal history record reveals a charge or a conviction of a crime other than one set forth above
  • A criminal history record of any other person over age 18 who resides in the home reveals a charge or a conviction of any crime