State law requires background studies for certain people who provide direct contact services or have access to vulnerable adults and children. The background study determines whether a person has a disqualifying characteristic which prevents the person from working with children or living in the home of a provider. The background study process is changing to meet the federal requirements of the 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant.
Beginning September 15, 2021, child care providers will no longer be able to submit new emergency studies. On September 15, 2021, providers can begin submitting enhanced (fingerprint-based) background studies for new hires, newly affiliated individuals and individuals who had not been able to complete the enhanced studies during the statewide rollout in late 2019 and early 2020, which was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and peacetime emergency.
What the changes mean for child care providers:
- DHS will cover the one-time cost of enhanced child care background studies. On September 15, 2021 all child care background study fees will be set to $0.
- Fingerprinting and photographs will again be required for most child care background studies.
- Study subjects will be required to disclose criminal history information and complete an informed consent form.
- Individuals who have received emergency studies are required to have a fully compliant study to continue to work on or after July 2, 2022.
- Beginning December 1, 2021, providers may submit enhanced background studies for those who completed an emergency study. Providers that have submitted and paid for emergency studies from April 6, 2020 to September 14, 2021, will receive a $20 credit per study submitted. More information will be provided at a later date about the resubmission of emergency studies and the provider credit.
- Study subjects cannot provide direct contact services to people served by the program until a notice is received of a completed background study which indicates the individual is eligible to work; or a notice is received indicating that more time is needed, but the person can work with supervision.
- In the event of a disqualification of a current staff member, regulated providers will be required to remove the individual (regardless of their role) from employment.
The federal Office of Child Care has informed states that they are able to use certain child care block grant funds to help providers pay for the new enhanced background studies.
DHS will pay for the cost of the new background studies for existing providers and their staff/family members who already have a current background study:
- If a family child care provider hires new staff or has a new household member after the roll out date of the enhanced studies, those individuals will need to cover the background study cost
- If a family child care provider has a minor who only had a name and date of birth study turn 18 years old, that person will need to cover the cost of the background study
The cost for those who will be required to pay for the study:
- Adults: $40.00 for the study and $9.10 for the fingerprinting fee
- Minors: The cost of the name and date of birth study will be $20.00
For most people, the new enhanced background study will be good for five years before they have to be repeated and the DHS one-time funding will not cover the cost of the next study.
Disqualifications in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 245C.15
Individuals who are disqualified have reconsideration (appeal) rights. If you receive a disqualification letter, there will be a packet of information describing how you can request reconsideration.
The background study will include a review of information from the following databases:
- A name-based search of Minnesota's predatory offender registry
- A name-based search of Minnesota's child abuse and neglect registry
- A name-based out-of-state system search of the child abuse and neglect registry for every state where that individual resided during the past five years
- Minnesota Court Information System
- Minnesota Maltreatment Information
Any individual over the age of 18 or a minor (ages 13-17) who is an employee, contractor, someone who supervises children in care, or who have lived outside of Minnesota anytime in the last five years will have a background study that also includes:
- A fingerprint search of criminal history records held by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)
- A fingerprint search of FBI criminal history records
A minor (ages 13-17) who does not meet one of the criteria above will have a background study that includes the following elements in addition to items 1-5 above:
- A name-based search of criminal history records held by the BCA
- If there is a reasonable cause, as defined in state law, a fingerprint-based state and federal criminal history check