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

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-7-2340; 63-7-2330; Code of Regs. § 114-503

Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • A person applying for licensure as a foster parent
  • A person applying for approval for an adoption placement
  • A person age 18 or older residing in the home of a prospective foster or adoptive parent
  • A person applying to provide foster care for a relative child

In regulation: The director, staff, and employees of a child care facility are required to undergo background checks.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-50; Code of Regs. § 114-550

At a minimum, the Department of Social Services shall require that all foster care and adoptive parent applicants undergo a State fingerprint review to be conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and a fingerprint review to be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The department also shall check the following:

  • The State central registry of child abuse and neglect
  • Department records
  • The equivalent registry system for each State in which the person has resided for 5 years preceding an application for licensure as a foster parent
  • The national sex offender registry
  • The State sex offender registry for applicants and all persons age 12 and older residing in the home of an applicant

In regulation: The background study must include a check of the following:

  • Child abuse and neglect history
  • State and national criminal records history
  • The sex offender registry

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-2340; Code of Regs. § 114-550

An applicant must undergo a State fingerprint review to be conducted by SLED to determine any State criminal history and a fingerprinting review to be conducted by the FBI to determine any other criminal history.

In regulation: Each applicant shall be assessed by designated staff of the Department of Social Services or by designated staff of a licensed child-placing agency. As part of the assessment, background checks shall be documented, including a review of abuse and neglect history, criminal history found with SLED and the FBI, and the sex offender registry.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-2350

No child in the custody of the department may be placed in foster care or for adoption with a person if the person or anyone age 18 or older residing in the home:

  • Has a substantiated history of child abuse or neglect
  • Has pled guilty or nolo contendere to or has been convicted of any of the following:
    • An 'offense against the person' as provided for in title 16, chapter 3, including homicide, spousal sexual battery, criminal sexual conduct, and trafficking in persons
    • An 'offense against morality or decency' as provided for in title 16, chapter 15, including bigamy, incest, criminal solicitation of a minor, and sexual exploitation of a minor
    • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
    • Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature when the victim was a person age 17 or younger
    • Criminal domestic violence or criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature
    • A felony drug-related offense
    • Unlawful conduct toward a child
    • Cruelty to children
    • Child endangerment
    • Criminal sexual conduct with a minor
    • A criminal offense similar in nature to a crime listed above that was committed in another jurisdiction or under Federal law