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

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 1-113; Tit. 33, § 151; Code of Rules §§ 13-162-007; 13-171-003; 13-171-004; 13-171-005

Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • Prospective adoptive parents
  • Employees and volunteers of a family child care home

In regulation: Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • All persons who have contact with children, including prospective foster parents and other members of the household
  • Administrators, site directors, program staff, and substitutes of afterschool child care programs
  • Licensees, staff persons, and auxiliary staff persons of center-based child care and preschool programs
  • Operators of registered and licensed family child care homes and any person age 16 and older residing in the home

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 1-113; Tit. 33, § 152

A criminal records checks shall include a request to the Vermont Crime Information Center to obtain the following:

  • The record of Vermont convictions and pending criminal charges for any person being evaluated
  • The record of convictions and pending criminal charges of the appropriate criminal repositories in all States in which there is reason to believe the applicant has resided or been employed

If no disqualifying record is identified at the State level, the Vermont Crime Information Center shall request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) a national criminal history records check of the applicant's convictions and pending criminal charges. The request to the FBI shall be accompanied by a set of the applicant's fingerprints.

The investigation shall include a check for any record of substantiated reports of child abuse.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 2-203; Tit. 33, § 151

A person being evaluated shall submit to fingerprinting and sign a release permitting the evaluator to obtain from an appropriate law enforcement agency any record indicating that the person has been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. In addition, a person being evaluated shall, at the request of the evaluator, sign any release necessary for the evaluator to obtain information required to complete the preplacement evaluation.

The commissioner for Children and Families may obtain from the Vermont Crime Information Center the record of convictions of any person to the extent required by law, or the commissioner has determined by rule that such information is necessary to regulate a facility or individual subject to regulation by the Department of Children and Families or to carry out the department's child protection obligations. The commissioner shall first notify the person whose record is being requested.

The owner or operator of a child care facility may ask the commissioner for the record of convictions and the record of substantiated reports of child abuse of a current employee or a person to whom the owner or operator has given a conditional offer of employment. The request shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by a release signed by the current or prospective employee.

If the person has a record of convictions, the commissioner shall provide the owner or operator with a copy of the record. If the person has a record of substantiated reports of child abuse, the commissioner shall inform the requesting owner or operator that such record exists.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 2-203; 2-204; Code of Rules §§ 13-162-007; 13-171-003; 13-171-004; 13-171-005

For a prospective adoptive parent, an evaluator shall assess the information collected for the preplacement evaluation to determine whether it raises a concern that placement of any minor, or a particular minor, in the home of the person would pose a risk of harm to the physical or psychological well-being of the minor. The information that will be assessed includes the results of the records checks that have been completed, including whether the person has been:

  • Subject to an abuse prevention order
  • Charged with or convicted of domestic assault, first-degree aggravated domestic assault, or second-degree aggravated domestic assault
  • The subject of a substantiated complaint filed with the department
  • Subject to a court order restricting the person's right to parental rights and responsibilities or parent-child contact with a child

If an evaluator determines that the information raises a concern that placement of a minor in the person's home would pose a risk of harm to the physical or psychological well-being of the minor, the evaluator shall find that the person is or is not suited to be an adoptive parent.

In regulation: A license may be denied if the foster parent applicant or other member of the household:

  • Has been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense
  • Has current, unresolved problems with alcohol or other chemicals
  • Has abused or neglected a child

The licensee of an afterschool program shall ensure that no person who has contact with children shall have a history of child abuse or criminal activity that would disqualify them. The following persons may not provide care, reside at, be employed by, or have contact with children at a licensed program:

  • Persons convicted of fraud, felony, or an offense involving violence or unlawful sexual activity or other bodily injury to another person, including, but not limited to, abuse, neglect, or sexual activity with a child
  • Persons found by a court to have abused, neglected, or mistreated a child, an elderly or disabled person, or an animal
  • Adults or children who have had a report of abuse or neglect substantiated against them

The following persons are prohibited and shall not operate, be employed at, or be allowed unsupervised access to children at a center-based child care operation or a family child care home:

  • A person who is required to complete a background check who refuses or knowingly makes a material false statement in connection with such background check
  • A person convicted of fraud
  • A person convicted of any of the following felonies:
    • Murder
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • A crime against children, including sexual activity or child pornography
    • Spousal abuse
    • A crime involving rape or sexual assault
    • Kidnapping
    • Arson
    • Physical assault or battery
    • A drug-related offense committed during the preceding 5 years
  • A person convicted of any of the following misdemeanor offenses against a child or another person consisting of:
    • Violence
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • Child endangerment
    • Sexual assault or activity
    • Child pornography
    • Other bodily injury
  • A person found by a court to have abused, neglected, or mistreated a child, elderly or disabled person, or animal
  • An adult or child who has had a report of abuse or neglect substantiated against them
  • A person who is registered or is required to be registered on a State sex offender registry or the National Sex Offender Registry