Criminal Background Investigations

Created on: 
Feb 03 2016

Table of Contents

Related WACs

Child Care Subsidy

Seasonal Child Care

Seasonal Child Care clients can only used licensed child care providers.  This section does not apply. 

DEL Clarifying Information (published February 1, 2017)

WAC 170-290-0125

Out-of-State Providers

If the provider has not had a criminal history background check through their own state, a background check must be processed through Washington State and the BCCU.

The out of state provider is eligible for payment when DSHS has verified the background check as part of the state’s statutory requirements or when DSHS receives criminal history results from BCCU on all required applicants per WAC 170-290-0143.

WAC 170-290-0140

The provider is not eligible for any child care subsidy payments before the date DSHS receives background check results. Payment will not be made or authorized for any day prior to the date all required background check results are received and approved. 

The "received date" is the date DSHS receives the information from the Washington State Patrol.

WAC 170-290-0143

Non-Conviction Information

The provider’s non-conviction information cannot be disclosed to the consumer unless the provider has signed a release of information.

Frequency of Background Checks

  • The approved background check is good for 90 days from the date of approval for families that may request the provider.

  • A provider is not required to have a new background check when the family has a break of less than 30 days in child care with the approved provider as long as the results were received within the past 2 years.

Additional Information

What is the Criminal Background Investigation process?

All potential Family, Friends and Neighbors providers must undergo a background check in order to be determined eligible to provide care. To do this, they must fill out the Background Check Authorization form DSHS 09-653, and provide it to the Department. Once the form is complete, the Department sends it to the Background Check Central Unit to search for any background information.

If the care is done in the relative’s home, all persons 16 years of age or older living with the relative provider must also complete a Background Authorization form. If the applicant is 16 or 17 years old, the minor's parent or guardian must sign the form.

Payment will not be authorized until the date that all required background check results have been received and the results show no disqualifying information.

How does my provider fill out a Background Authorization form?

All required fields on the Background Authorization form must be filled out, legible, and complete. With the following exceptions, any box that doesn’t have an answer (e.g. the provider does not have a middle name) must be answered with “None,” “n/a,” or something similar.

The following boxes are exceptions:

  • Box 6: The social security number box may be left blank.
  • Box 8: The provider’s email address box may be left blank.

When filling out the remainder of the form, keep the following in mind:

  • Box 11A and 11B: If the provider answers “Yes” to either of these questions, the degree of the crime must be entered if known. If the degree is not known or applicable, other acceptable answers include: “N/A,” “None,” “Unknown,” and ”?”.
  • Box 17 (a) (b) and (c):
    • 17A: A mailing address is required.
    • 17B: Examples of acceptable answers: “Current address” and “Same.”
    • 17C: A phone number is required for the provider.
  • Only the Background Authorization applicant can make changes to the form. The client cannot make any changes. Department staff also cannot make any changes on behalf of the provider.
  • If the case is pending, a complete Background Authorization can still be submitted to the Background Check Central Unit.

If any required information is omitted or not legible per the instructions, then it must be returned to the client to have the background check applicant complete it, even if the eligibility worker knows the information.

How often do people have to have a background check?

Providers and people living with them (if care takes place in the provider’s home) must have a background check at least every two years. If a provider’s last background check is more than two years ago, the Department will terminate payment to them. All care used after the background check expired will be an overpayment to the client.

If a family has had a break in care of 30 days or more with a provider, the provider must undergo a new background check. If it is less, the Department can use the previous one.

If a provider has had a background check within the past 90 days from the date of approval and the background check has a result of “No Record,” they do not need a new background check. If it is older than 90 days, or if the previous background check had record information, they need a new background check.

What sources does the Department use to obtain background information?

The Department uses, at a minimum, information from the Washington State Patrol and the Background Check Central Unit. Information includes both criminal convictions and pending charges.

The Department may also use the following sources:

  • Child/Adult Protective Service case information.
  • Civil judgments, determinations, or disciplinary board final decisions of abuse or neglect.
  • Other states and federally recognized Indian tribes.
  • The Department of Corrections and the courts.
  • The individual being checked, if he or she self-discloses information on the background check form.
  • Law enforcement records of convictions and pending charges in other states or locations if reports from credible community sources indicate a need to investigate another state's records.

What disqualifies someone from being a Family, Friends and Neighbors provider?

See the DEL Director’s List in WAC 170-06-0120. Crimes in column (a) permanently disqualify an individual from being a provider. Crimes in column (b) disqualify an individual for five years from the date of conviction.

In addition, the Department permanently disqualifies an individual who knowingly provides incorrect or misleading information, or withholds information as to whether an individual 16 years of age or older living with them is a registered sex offender.

The Department can also disqualify an individual if background information other than conviction information demonstrates that the individual is not of suitable character or competence or of sufficient physical or mental health to provide care for a child, or that is determined to put the child at risk of harm.

If the individual has any conviction other that crimes on the Director’s List, or that is on the list but took place longer than five years ago, the Department lets the client determine if they will use the provider.

What if the provider is disqualified only because they live with a person with a disqualifying background?

If the provider does not have their own disqualifying background information, they are only allowed to provide care in the child’s home, away from the disqualified individual. The child must not have any contact with the disqualified individual during child care hours. The client and provider will sign the Agreement for a Disqualified Provider form, DSHS 07-080. If at any point the client and provider are found to have violated the agreement, the Department may terminate payment without notice and write an overpayment to the client.

What does it mean when a background check comes back with a result “Information Needed”?

Sometimes, when a background check is submitted to the Background Check Unit, it will return saying more information is needed. This is to give the provider the opportunity to clarify any results that have unknown or unclear findings.

Child Care Program Managers will mail a letter to the client advising them that more information is needed to issue background results for their provider and that their provider must contact the Background Check Unit to complete the process.

The provider may contact the Background Check Unit at (360) 902-0299.