Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers - North Carolina

Date: September 2018

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 131D-10.3A; 48-3-309; 110-90.2

Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • All foster parents, individuals applying for licensure as foster parents, and individuals age 18 or older who reside in a family foster home
  • All prospective adoptive parents and all individuals age 18 or older who reside in the prospective adoptive home
  • Child care providers, including any person who:
    • Is employed by or seeks to be employed by a child care facility, whether in a temporary or permanent capacity, including substitute providers
    • Owns or operates or seeks to own or operate a child care facility or nonlicensed child care home
    • Is a member of the household in a family child care home, nonlicensed child care home, or child care center in a residence who is over age 15, including family members and nonfamily members who use the home on a permanent or temporary basis as their place of residence

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 131D-10.3A; 48-3-309; Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 70H.0405

The background check must include county, State, and Federal criminal histories.

In regulation: The background check also must include the following:

  • A search of the Responsible Individual's List for child protective services
  • The results of child abuse and neglect central registry checks of States in which the applicant has resided the past 5 years

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 48-3-309; 131D-10.3A

The Department of Health and Human Services shall ensure that the criminal histories of all individuals who are required to be checked are checked for county, State, and Federal criminal histories.

For each person to be checked, the Department of Public Safety shall provide the department with the criminal history obtained from the State and national repositories of criminal histories as requested by the department. Along with the request, the department shall provide to the Department of Public Safety the fingerprints of the individual to be checked, any additional information required by the Department of Public Safety, and a form consenting to the check of the criminal record and to the use of fingerprints and other identifying information required by the State or national repositories signed by the individual to be checked. The fingerprints of the individual to be checked shall be forwarded to the State Bureau of Investigation for a search of the State's criminal history record file, and the State Bureau of Investigation shall forward a set of fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history records check.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 48-3-309; 131D-10.3A; Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 70E.1115

The department shall prohibit an individual from providing foster or adoptive care if an individual required to submit to a criminal history check has a criminal history. The department may prohibit an individual from providing foster care by denying or revoking the license to provide foster care, or receiving a child for adoption, if the department determines that the safety and well-being of a child placed in the home would be at risk based on other criminal convictions, whether felony or misdemeanor.

A disqualifying criminal history includes any county, State, and Federal conviction of a felony by a court of competent jurisdiction or pending felony indictment of a crime for 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 physical assault or battery
  • Physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense, if the offense was committed within the past 5 years
  • Similar crimes under Federal law or the laws of other States

In regulation: An applicant is not eligible for licensure if the applicant has within the last 5 years been substantiated for abuse or serious neglect and is placed on the Responsible Individuals List. After 5 years, an applicant who is on the Responsible Individuals List may be considered for licensure based on the following factors:

  • The nature of the substantiation
  • The length of time since the substantiation
  • The circumstances surrounding the substantiation
  • Evidence of rehabilitation
  • The person's history of convictions and violations