Entity Frequently Asked Questions

BCCU runs background checks for DSHS programs and authorized service providers who serve vulnerable adults, juveniles, and children in Washington.  At this time, BCCU does not conduct background checks for entities that are not licensed or contracted through DSHS.

If your entity does not currently use BCCU to run your background checks, but believe they should, please contact BCCU at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov so that we can direct you to the appropriate program contact.


You need to have an active profile in BCS before you can access the system.  Internal Users or state employees accessing BCS within the state fire wall visit https://bcs.dshs.wa.gov/.  DSHS Authorized Licensed Facilities, Contractors, Vendors and Providers access BCS through SecureAccess Washington at https://secureaccess.wa.gov/dshs/bcs.


Authorized entities who submit background checks to BCCU are required to complete the DSHS Background Check System (BCS) Access Request form to request access for any (new) Primary Account Administrators (PAA) or to change a PAA’s email address.  This form is only for PAAs.  The PAA will add and remove all other BCS users.

The PAA requesting access will need to complete the form and sign the DSHS BCS User Agreement.  PAAs have the option to complete an online version of the BCS Access Request form by clicking on the following link:  https://fortress.wa.gov/dshs/bcs/userAccessRequest


All entities must have a Primary Account Administrator (PAA) identified before they can access BCS, submit applications, or retrieve background check results from BCCU. The PAA is responsible for adding users to the entity account in BCS. This person may add additional Account Administrators who also may add new users to the account. The PAA is the primary contact for the entity for BCCU.  Steps for adding a user are listed below and can also be found in our BCS Entity Admin User Guide.

  1. Click on “Admin Tools” in the upper left, and then “Users” from the dropdown.
  2. Click the button marked “Add User” in the lower right.
  3. Type in the email address you’d like the user to be listed under, then click “Find”.
  4. If the email is new to the system, it will open a blank user profile.
  5. Fill in at least the “First Name” and “Last Name” fields. When you’re done, click “Save”.
  6. Scroll down to the “Entity Roles” section, it should be blank initially. Click “Add New”.
  7. Everything should be filled in automatically except the “Role” dropdown.
  8. Choose the role you would like them to have. Then click “Save”.
    1. Account Administrator: Can submit background checks, see results, and add new users.
    2. Account User: Can submit background checks and see results only.
    3. Account Submitter: Can submit background checks only. Can’t see results packets.
  9. The system will automatically send them a registration key via an automated email (Do_Not_Reply_BCS@dshs.wa.gov), which they will be asked for the first time they access BCS through their new SAW account.
    • if you save without adding a role, their profile will be incomplete, and a registration key will not be issued.


All entities must have a Primary Account Administrator (PAA) identified before they can access BCS, submit applications, or retrieve background check results from BCCU. The PAA is responsible for updating users in BCS.  Users are not deleted from the system, but PAAs can disable access to an account by following the steps below.  These steps are also outlined in our BCS Entity Admin User Guide.

  1. Search and open the user’s profile.
  2. Find the role you wish to update.
  3. Click the link for Active or Inactive.
    1. Message: Are you sure you want to change this user’s status…?
    2. Click Cancel Message disappears, and user’s role doesn’t change.
    3. Click OK User’s status is changed to Inactive.
      • Inactive = Account Access Disabled
      • Active = Account Access Enabled
    4. The User is no longer an active user on this account. If User Profile has access to other accounts, you will have to change the status for each active account you would like to update.


If you have questions regarding what type of background check to submit, what your renewal schedule is, how to do a Character, Competency, or Suitability Review, or what documentation your licensor requires you to keep on file, then you will need to reach out to your Program Policy Contact.  BCCU runs background checks for all of DSHS and doesn’t know all the program policies and procedures.  If you do not know who your Program Policy Contact is, then please contact us at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov and we will be happy to locate their contact information for you.     


First, an applicant fills out the Background Check Authorization form online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dshs/bcs/ or completes a provided paper form. The online form produces a confirmation code on the last page of the form that allows you to pull up the information that was submitted. The applicant then sends their confirmation code and their date of birth to you.

Second, you will take the applicant’s confirmation code and date of birth and use it to retrieve the form information they filled out and submit it as a background check online via your Background Check System (BCS) account. You can also manually enter an applicant’s paper form to start a background check if needed. You will then receive the results through your Background Check System account once that background check finishes.


The turnaround time of a background check depends on the volume of checks received, the amount of research required for that inquiry, and the number of staff available to process. Please refer to our Turnaround Times  page to get an estimate of when you will receive your background check.

If the applicant has an out of state crime, BCCU requests a review to determine if the out of state crime is equivalent to a Washington State crime and verifies if that crime is on the Disqualifying List of Crimes and Negative Actions. The amount of research involved, number of equivalencies, and staff available will determine how quickly an equivalency can be completed.


If your facility requires a fingerprint-based background check for an applicant, request a fingerprint-based background check when you initially submit the applicant’s background check in BCS. You do not need to submit a name and date of birth request and then a fingerprint request. You will have an opportunity to decide if you want to continue the fingerprint-based background check after the interim result (WA State Name and Date of Birth) is available to review in BCS, or if you want to withdraw the inquiry.  If you decide to continue with fingerprints, the fingerprint appointment packet will generate in BCS for you to provide to the applicant.   


BCCU currently issues 4 different result notifications.

  1. No Record – None of the background check data sources reported criminal or negative action records that disqualify the applicant from having unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults and there are no background check records to be reviewed.
  2. Review Required – One or more of the background check data sources reported criminal or negative action records that are not listed on the oversight program’s list of disqualifying crimes and negative actions.  The authorized entity must determine whether or not the applicant can work in a position that may have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults by: (a) completing a Character, Competence, and Suitability (CC&S) review; and (b) documenting and retaining the decision as required by the DSHS oversight program.  BCCU does not accept or retain any CC&S review documentation.
  3. Disqualify  – One or more of the background check data sources reported criminal or negative action records that are on the oversight program’s list of disqualifying crimes and negative actions and the applicant is disqualified from having unsupervised access to vulnerable adults, juveniles, and children.
  4. Additional Information Needed – You will receive this letter if there is an unclear crime or negative action that was reported by any of the sources that BCCU researches. BCCU will no longer send a Disqualify notification (ABC or Secretary’s List Letter) for unknown crimes and negative actions. Entities should not disqualify applicants based solely on the receipt of the Additional Information Needed Notification.

The Additional Information Needed Notification informs the facility requesting the background check that:

  1. The applicant needs to contact BCCU to provide additional information.
  2. The background check will be pending until the applicant provides the additional information.

The applicant cannot schedule a fingerprint appointment until they have provided additional information.

Your DSHS oversight program may have special requirements related to applicants who receive an additional information needed request.  Examples may include:

  1. The time limit that the applicant must provide the additional information,
  2. If the applicant will be allowed to have unsupervised access pending the final notification;
  3. And how the entity requesting the background check will notify the applicant that additional information is needed.

If you have questions about what you are required to do, contact the DSHS oversight program listed on the background check result notification.