Child Care Licensing
Background checks: New out-of-state requirement
January 2019 brought a lot of changes to the background check processes. One of the biggest changes is for out-of-state checks. The federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 requires background checks from every state in which a person has lived in the past five years.
These out-of-state checks are in addition to the standard FBI Fingerprint-Based Check and Texas Central Registry Check required for most people. (Volunteers and certain listed family home operations that provide care only to relative children must complete a Texas Name-Based Criminal History Check instead of the FBI Fingerprint-Based Check.) If someone lived outside Texas within the past five years, out-of-state checks provide more information in the interest of child safety.
In Texas, Child Care Licensing (CCL) has a Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU) that is dedicated to processing background checks for child care employees, volunteers, and household members in a home-based program. Every child care program has an assigned CBCU inspector who performs all the background checks submitted by that operation. The CBCU inspector works closely with the provider and the person to complete all the types of background checks required.
In order for the CBCU to begin processing out-of-state checks, technology changes were needed. These system updates went into effect in January 2019, and the new out-of-state requirements kicked in. Because it took a couple of months for the CBCU to discover how to request background checks from every other state, there were delays in processing these checks at first. The CBCU has now mapped out the background check processes for each state and compiled these instructions in a resource guide that is available to providers and the public. (See Resources section below for details.)
Two types of out-of-state checks
A person who has lived outside Texas in the past five years must complete two types of out-state (OOS) checks from the other states.
OOS Abuse and Neglect History Check: A search of another state’s registry of child abuse and neglect investigation records. These requests are always name-based, meaning the search uses the person’s identifying information, such as name, date of birth, Social Security number, and previous addresses.
OOS Criminal History Check: A search of another state’s database of criminal records. Some states perform name-based searches (using the person’s identifying information), while other states perform only fingerprint-based searches. If a state requires fingerprints, the person must be fingerprinted on a hard card by local law enforcement and submit the fingerprint card to the other state by mail.
Things to know
Out-of-state checks can be tricky and confusing. Every state has a different process, and the CBCU must follow the other state’s requirements. Although child care providers are not eligible to receive the person’s background check results, providers are encouraged to assist applicants with their requests.
What you need to know:
OOS requirements: OOS checks are required for every other state in which the person has lived within the past five years. If it has been more than five years since the person lived in another state, OOS checks are not required.
Provider responsibility: Providers are responsible for asking if the person lived outside Texas in the past five years and, if so, submitting requests for the other state’s checks in the Child Care Licensing Account Portal.
Provisional status: The CBCU issues a Provisional Eligibility Determination if the person has pending OOS checks. This means the person is allowed to be present at the operation with conditions until the OOS results are received and the overall background check is resolved.
No duplicate check submission: If a child care operation receives a notification stating the person is in a provisional status due to pending OOS checks, providers should not submit a duplicate request. The person will remain in a provisional status with conditions until the CBCU receives and assesses the OOS results.
Provider assistance: Providers are encouraged to assist the person if OOS checks are required. Although the provider is not eligible to receive the results or know the details of a person’s history, the CBCU is allowed to disclose to the provider when OOS checks are pending and share the instructions for requesting these checks.
Different processes: Every state has a different process –and the processes and request forms are constantly changing. The OOS resource guide that is linked on the CCL webpages is regularly updated, so always go directly to this resource. If you save a copy of the OOS resource guide for personal use, it will quickly become outdated. (See Resources section below for details.)
Identify process by role: Some states have different processes for the abuse and neglect history check based on the person’s role. If so, the OOS resource guide lists separate instructions for child care employees and volunteers versus foster and adoptive parents and household members.
Three different methods:
Some states use online background check portals that process everything electronically.
Other states use request forms that are available online and process the requests and the results by email or fax.
Some states use paper request forms and process the requests and results by mail.
Submit a request: Some states require the CBCU to initiate or submit the request, while other states require the person to request the background check. The OOS resource guide identifies who must submit the request along with detailed steps to follow and links to request forms or online background check portals.
Timeframes: Some states provide results fairly quickly—in a matter of days—while other states can take up to eight weeks. Unfortunately, the CBCU has no control over how long it may take another state to process the results. The provider and the person may receive automated notifications stating the results must be received by the background check due date. If the person has submitted the requests for all the required OOS checks and the CBCU is aware of this, the CBCU will not close out a background check while waiting for the results from another state.
Fees: Some states charge a fee for the OOS checks. The CBCU is unable to pay these background check fees. If the other state has an online background check portal and charges a fee, the person must submit the request along with payment. Other states require the person to mail in a check or money order.
Fingerprints: Some states require the submission of fingerprints for the OOS criminal history check. This must be done by local law enforcement, and the person must mail the hard card fingerprints to the state.
Results: CBCU staff enter the person’s OOS results in our system upon receipt. Once a person’s OOS results are on file, they will continue to copy over into subsequent background checks. For example, if a person completed OOS checks for operation X and applies to work at operation Y, the OOS results automatically copy over in the system. The person does not need to submit a new OOS request if the results are already on file with the CBCU.
Reminders to providers:
Providers are not eligible to receive a person’s background check results, so providers must NOT list their operation as the Requesting Agency on OOS request forms. The instructions in the OOS resource guide identify the CBCU contact information to enter in online portals or OOS request forms.
Although providers are not eligible to receive the results, they are encouraged to assist people with submitting these checks by following the instructions in the public OOS Resource Guide.
It is important to follow the instructions in the guide exactly as written.
Some states require a form to be submitted as a PDF, while others require a Word doc.
Some states require that the request form be typewritten, while at least two states require that the form be filled out in blue ink.
Some states require a notarized request form, while other states require a copy of the person’s ID.
Reminder: Check email
The January 2019 background check changes also brought a change in the way the CBCU communicates background check results. Providers receive notifications about the person’s general eligibility status, while the person receives notifications with details of any actions that are required.
It is vital that the provider enters a valid email address for the person in the Child Care Licensing Account Portal (if the person has an email address) –and the provider reminds the person to check his or her email for notifications from the CBCU. The CBCU may send OOS request forms with instructions to the person by email with a deadline for the person to respond. If the CBCU has no an email address for the person, a delay may ensue.
In case of pending OOS checks, the provider may receive a provisional notification. The person receives a similar notification that includes language stating these OOS checks must be completed. The person’s notification also contains a link that connects to a memo, which contains a link to the OOS resource guide.
While the OOS checks are pending, the provider and the person may receive a notification that contains the following language:
If the CBCU does not receive your results by the due date in the previous notification, the CBCU may close your background check request as incomplete.
The CBCU will not close out the background check if the person has submitted the OOS requests and notified the CBCU of the status of these OOS checks.
Here is a link to the OOS resource guide that contains instructions for every state’s background check process: Out-of-State Background Check Resource Guide for Child Care Employees and Foster and Adoptive Parents
This OOS resource guide is linked in the notification letter to the person. It can also be found on the General Licensing Background Checks FAQ webpage. The OOS resource guide is linked in both FAQs regarding OOS checks.
Contact the CBCU
If you have any questions regarding OOS checks or any other background check issues, you can contact the CBC in three ways:
Fax: 512-339-5871, or
Contact your CBCU representative directly: Centralized Background Check Contacts