Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers - Texas

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Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Gov't. Code § 411.114

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) shall obtain criminal history record information that relates to a person who is any of the following:

  • An owner, operator, employee, or an applicant for employment by a child care facility, child-placing agency, or licensed family home
  • A person age 14 or older who will be regularly or frequently working or staying in a facility or family home
  • An applicant for a position with the DFPS that includes direct delivery of protective services to children
  • A registered volunteer with the DFPS
  • A prospective foster or adoptive parent and other persons living in the residence in which the child will reside
  • A DFPS employee who is engaged in the direct delivery of protective services to children
  • An employee, applicant for employment, volunteer, or an applicant volunteer with a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that provides any service that involves the care of or access to a child
  • An applicant for a child-care or child-placing agency administrator license
  • A person providing, at the request of the child's parent, in-home care for a child only if the person gives written consent to the release of the information
  • A relative caregiver or any other person who resides in, is present in, or has unsupervised access to a child in the home
  • A person who volunteers to supervise visitation
  • An employee or volunteer at an entity that provides supervised independent living services to a young adult receiving extended foster care services
  • A person age 14 or older who will be regularly or frequently working or staying in a host home that is providing supervised independent living services to a young adult
  • A volunteer with a local affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • A volunteer with an organization that provides court-appointed volunteer advocates for abused or neglected children
  • An employee, volunteer, or applicant volunteer of a children's advocacy center

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 745.611; 745.615

A background check may include the following:

  • A name-based criminal history check of the database of crimes committed in the State of Texas
  • A fingerprint-based criminal history check by the DPS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of databases of crimes committed in Texas and anywhere in the United States
  • A DFPS central registry check
  • An out-of-State central registry check

A name-based criminal history check and a DFPS central registry check are required for any person listed above. In addition, fingerprint-based criminal history checks are required for the following:

  • An applicant, employee, or other person who will be on the premises of a child-placing agency, general residential operation, independent foster home, child care center, before- or after-school program, or school-age program
  • A person who has lived in another State any time during the 5-year period prior to the date of application

In addition, child-placing agencies and independent foster homes that will accept the placement of children in the conservatorship of DFPS must request an out-of-State central registry check for a foster or adoptive parent applicant and any other adult living in the home of the applicant who has lived outside of the State any time during the previous 5 years preceding the prospective foster or adoptive parent's application to become a foster or adoptive parent.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 745.623

To obtain a background check, a request must be submitted with the following information about the person:

  • Full name, date of birth, sex, and Social Security number
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Driver's license or a State-issued identification card number
  • Any addresses, including counties, in which the person has lived outside of the State of Texas any time during the 5 years preceding the date of the background check request

A child daycare operator other than a child care center, before- or after-school program, or school-age program must complete a request either online through the DFPS website or send in a request via a signed form provided by the local licensing office or the DFPS Centralized Background Check Unit. For a residential child care operation or a child care center, before- or after-school program, or school-age program, the request must be submitted online through the DFPS website.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 745.651; 745.656; 745.657

An applicant may be disqualified for a felony or misdemeanor conviction under Texas law, the laws of another State, or Federal law.

An applicant will be permanently disqualified if he or she has been convicted a crime listed in regulation, including of any of the following:

  • Criminal solicitation of a minor
  • Murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Trafficking or smuggling of persons
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Sale or purchase of a child
  • Continuous violence against the family
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Compelling prostitution or sexual coercion
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Unregulated custody transfer of an adopted child
  • Obscenity or voyeurism
  • Arson

An applicant will be barred for 20 years, then forever subject to a risk evaluation, for a conviction for a crime listed in regulation, including any of the following:

  • Unlawful restraint
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated assault
  • Terroristic threat
  • Tampering with a consumer product
  • Prohibited sexual conduct
  • Interference with child custody
  • Enticing a child
  • Violation of a protective order
  • Advertising for placement of a child
  • Robbery
  • Stalking
  • Prostitution
  • Sale, distribution, or display of harmful material to a minor
  • Employment harmful to children

An applicant will be barred for 5 years, then be subject to a risk evaluation for an additional 5 years, if he or she has been convicted of any of the following:

  • Driving, flying, or boating while intoxicated
  • Drug-related offenses

A person who is required to register as a sex offender in Texas also will be disqualified.

Except for a person described below, when a central registry check reveals a sustained finding of physical abuse, sexual abuse, labor trafficking, or sex trafficking, the person will be permanently disqualified. For a sustained finding of emotional abuse or neglect, the person is eligible for a risk evaluation that may lead to an approval.

A prospective foster or adoptive parent, or a member of the prospective parent's household, is eligible for a risk evaluation for a sustained finding of physical abuse if either of the following applies:

  • It has been more than 5 years since the date of the physical abuse finding.
  • The prospective foster or adoptive parent is related to or has a significant longstanding relationship with the foster or adoptive child.