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FAQ's

1. How long does it take to get the results of a background check?

Normally, the process only takes a few days. If you have not received your results within five days, please contact your Licensing Program Evaluator. Do not send applicants to be reprinted at this point.

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2. When is a reprint necessary?

A reprint is required only when the original prints have been rejected. The Department will notify the agency and the applicant in writing if the prints have been rejected. If you receive a letter from the Department notifying you that your original prints have been rejected, you may get a free reprint by following the: Instructions for Scheduling a Reprint.

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3. How do I get a duplicate “clear to work” letter?

If you need a duplicate “clear to work” letter for a current employee, please email your request to the following address: CC-Criminal-Background-Inquiries.DHS@tn.gov

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4. What offenses exclude a person from a child care agency?

Criminal offenses for which a person must be excluded from a child care agency include physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect of a child, crimes of violence, any offences that present a threat to the health, safety or welfare of children, and drug related offenses.  Specific examples of excludable criminal offenses include aggravated assault, arson, child abuse, cruelty to animals, domestic assault, indecent exposure, reckless endangerment, robbery, stalking, vehicular assault, voluntary manslaughter, and weapons offenses.  An expanded list of excludable offenses can be found in the Licensure Rules for Child Care Agencies 1240-04-01-.07 at:  https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/rules/1240/1240-04/1240-04-01.20190103.pdf

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5. Reporting Issues or Concerns with the Background Check Process

If you encounter an issue with the background check process, please report the problem by calling the Child Care Complaint Hotline: Nashville – (615) 313-4820 or 1 (800) 462-8261 (Tennessee Only).

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6. How long does it take to get a final approval after being issued a conditional approval letter?

The time frame varies. We allow up to 45 days for states to respond to our out of state registry requests. You can call us on the 46th day after the date on the conditional letter if you have not already been notified of the results.

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7. Do I need to submit any paperwork for an applicant who has not lived out of Tennessee in the last five years?

No, paperwork does not need to be sent to our office for applicants who have not lived outside Tennessee in the last five years. You are required to keep a copy of the fingerprint disclosure form on file.

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8. Where do I send the new disclosure form and out of State forms?

If a State requires an original form for one of the prior out of State residences for the applicant, please mail all  applicant’s forms to our office:

Tennessee Department of Human Services
ATTN: Background Unit/OIG
James K. Polk Building, 15th Floor
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243

If no original is required, you can email or fax forms to our office. Email: ccbackground.dhs@tn.gov and Fax: 615-532-9956.

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 9. Can an applicant’s out of State forms be sent in separately, at different times?

No, we need all forms for each applicant submitted all together.

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10. Can I, the Director/Assistant Director, complete the forms for the applicant?

No, the applicant must complete their forms and sign the forms, indicating all the information is accurate. And the applicant is responsible for the accuracy of the information submitted to our office.

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11. When should an applicant’s out of State forms be submitted?

At least one day after they have completed their fingerprints, but not more than 30 days.

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12. What paperwork needs to be submitted for an applicant who has lived out of the country in the last five years, but not in a State other than Tennessee in the last five years?

For out of country, no form is required, only the new disclosure form needs to be on file at the agency.

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13. If the applicant takes paperwork with them to Identigo, will Identigo give the Background Unit the paperwork they need?

No, Identigo does not submit any paperwork. The applicant or Center must submit the necessary paperwork.

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14. If an applicant has recently had fingerprints completed through TDHS for a different Center, can those fingerprints be transferred, or do they need to be fingerprinted again?

A criminal background check may be transferred if the employee has been fingerprinted within the last five years and the employee has worked for a Tennessee licensed child care agency without a break in employment of more than one hundred and eighty (180) days. If both these conditions apply, please complete the Criminal Background Check Transfer Form to transfer their background check clearance to your agency.

Here is a link to the transfer form: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/human-services/hs/hs-3299.docx and here is a link to the instructions for the transfer form: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/human-services/hs/hs-3299-instructions.doc.

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15. Can I, the Director or Assistant Director, be the witness on my applicant’s out of State form?

Yes, but please make sure both the applicant and witness signature dates are the same date.

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16. How do I get a duplicate “clear to work” letter?

If the applicant has never lived outside Tennessee, then please email: cc-criminal-background-inquiries.dhs@tn.gov or call 615-313-5147.

If the applicant has lived out of Tennessee in the last five years, then please email: ccbackground.dhs@tn.gov or call: 615-253-4170.

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17. Where do I send a transfer form?

cc-criminal-background-inquiries.dhs@tn.gov

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18. Who do I contact about the status of a transfer form?

Please email: cc-criminal-background-inquiries.dhs@tn.gov or call 615-313-5147.

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19. How do I change the method that I receive my conditional and final approval letters and communication from Child Care Licensing?

Complete a transmittal authorization form: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/human-services/hs/hs-2978.pdf and please return the completed form as instructed at the bottom of page one. Please Note: exclusion letters may still come by mail.

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20. What offenses exclude a person from a child care agency?

Criminal offenses for which a person must be excluded from a child care agency include physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect of a child, crimes of violence, any offences that present a threat to the health, safety or welfare of children, and drug related offenses. Specific examples of excludable criminal offenses include aggravated assault, arson, child abuse, cruelty to animals, domestic assault, indecent exposure, reckless endangerment, robbery, stalking, vehicular assault, voluntary manslaughter, and weapons offenses. An expanded list of excludable offenses can be found in the Licensure Rules for Child Care Agencies 1240-04-01-.07 at:  https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/rules/1240/1240-04/1240-04-01.20190103.pdf, on pages 20-23.

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21. If I have a DUI charge, can I still work at an Adult or Child Care Agency?

A. Yes, but you cannot drive.

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22. Which Provider number should be used for my fingerprints, if the owner has more than one?

The Provider you will be working for the majority of the time is the one you need to fingerprint under. Then, if there are other locations with the same Provider number, but with a different three-digit suffix, you may work at the other locations when needed.

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23. Do sport coaches and fine arts teachers need to be fingerprinted, if they are not there all the time?

Yes, sport coaches and fine arts teachers do need to be fingerprinted with the original Provider ID number. And then, these teachers and coaches can carry their approval letter with them as they are asked to work at other Child Care Centers.

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24. What if I am a student and work at the Child Care Center for Summers, but not the rest of the year? Am I required to re-fingerprint before working each Summer at the same Center?

Yes, because the time away from the Child Care Center is more than 180 days each time.

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25. Does a permanent maintenance worker need to be fingerprinted?

Yes, they do need to be fingerprinted, if they are working as a full-time maintenance worker and have access to the children.

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26. Does a one-time repair person need to be fingerprinted?

No, if you call an outside repair person, who does not work permanently with the Child Care Center, they do not have to be fingerprinted, but they do always need to be supervised around the children.

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27. If I go on maternity leave for three – six months, do I need to fingerprint again when I return?

If your maternity leave has been documented in your file, no, you do not need to fingerprint again. If your maternity leave has not been documented in your file, then you do need to be fingerprinted when you return.

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28. Do Child Care Centers that only operate on a regular school calendar, with Summers off, like Head Start Programs, need for their applicants to fingerprint every year since they are not working during the Summer?

No, if the employee is documented, in their file, as a 10-month employee, Summer is classified as vacation under these circumstances.

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29. Can Child Care Centers that only operate on a regular school calendar, like Head Start Programs, fingerprint applicants in May, if they will not start to work with children until August?

Yes, May would be classified as the applicant’s hire date and August would be classified as the applicant’s start date.

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30. Who can complete and sign the fingerprint disclosure form?

Only the applicant can complete and sign the form for their information.

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31. Does a copy of the fingerprint disclosure form need to be kept in the applicants file?

Yes, all applicants, even those that have only lived in Tennessee, need to have a copy of their completed fingerprint disclosure form, in their file, at the Child Care Center where they work.

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32. Who pays for Child Care applicants to be fingerprinted?

The State of Tennessee Department of Human Services.

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33. Who pays the fee required by some other States to complete that State’s background check?

The State of Tennessee Department of Human Services.

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34. If I receive a waiver for a Child Care Center, is it good for other Child Care Centers?

No, a waiver is only good for the Child Care Center it was given under. However, you can call, and the State will review the file to determine if we can extend the waiver or not.

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35. Is the waiver I received good for my whole life?

No, if there is a law or policy change your waiver can be revoked. Or, if you get a new charge, the waiver may be revoked.

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36. Can applicants receive a copy of their fingerprint results?

No, these results were paid for and are only to be used for the State of Tennessee Department of Human Services.

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37. Can I print the disclosure form and out of State forms to use later? Do these forms get updates?

Forms are regularly updated, please go to: https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/child-care-resources-for-providers/child-care-out-of-state-registry-check.html, then in the middle of the screen there is a box to select the state, below that box, you will see the blue link to the Child Care Criminal/Juvenile History & State Registry Review Disclosure Form, once you have selected and printed this disclosure form, go to the box and select the applicable State, once you have selected the State, then there will be a link or links, in blue, to the form(s) that you need to print, and complete for that State. Please make sure to read and follow directions on our website and on the forms, except never send out of State forms to a State other than Tennessee (*California is the one exception, and the applicant must mail their California form directly to California and send a copy to our office with proof of mailing to California), all forms need to be submitted, to our office, for each applicant, all together at least one day after the applicants fingerprints have been completed.

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38. What do I need to do if I have a charge and it has been dismissed or expunged?

Please send the court documents that show the charge information, including the date of the charge and the charge status being dismissed or expunged to our office email: ccbackground.dhs@tn.gov or fax: 615-532-9956.

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39. If I get arrested, do I need to notify TDHS?

Yes, All child care providers and household members who have incurred any pending charges, indictments or convictions (other than minor traffic offenses), since the last qualification letter was issued by the TDHS Criminal Background Check Unit must notify the Owner/ Director of such charges within two business days or before returning to work, whichever comes first. The operator must notify the Criminal Background Check Unit within one business day of being notified.

Any new charges or convictions could result in a disqualification. In addition, if the individual has been placed on the Child Abuse Registry (DCS), or the Sex Offender Registry (SOR), this will result in a disqualification.

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40. If you recently received approval and were arrested after your fingerprints were completed, do you need to notify TDHS of this arrest?

Yes, all child care providers and household members who have incurred any pending charges, indictments or convictions (other than minor traffic offenses), since the last fingerprinting was completed, must notify the Owner/ Director of such charges within two business days or before returning to work, whichever comes first. The operator must notify the Criminal Background Check Unit within one business day of being notified.

Any new charges or convictions could result in a disqualification. In addition, if the individual has been placed on the Child Abuse Registry (DCS), or the Sex Offender Registry (SOR), this will result in a disqualification.

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41. What should I do if I sell my Child Care business?

Please allow two weeks to transfer employees, that were fingerprinted within the last 180 days, and reprint employees to the new Provider ID (FEIN #). Please also make sure all the proper paperwork is completed and submitted to our office for the staff that could not be transferred and have lived out of Tennessee in the last five years.

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42. Do volunteers need to be fingerprinted and complete applicable paperwork?

Yes, all volunteers must be fingerprinted and complete applicable paperwork, regardless of the number of hours they volunteer.

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43. Do substitutes need to be fingerprinted and complete applicable paperwork?

Yes, all substitutes must be fingerprinted and complete applicable paperwork, regardless of the number of hours they substitute. And, if you count them in the adult: child ratio.

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44. Who is required to get fingerprinted?

The following persons are required to have a background check no more than ninety (90) days before having access to any Child Care agency:

Any person who owns or operates a Child Care agency;

Any person who applies to work in a Child Care agency as an employee, director or manager;

Any person who will provide substitute services to a Child Care agency for more than thirty-six (36) hours in a calendar year and who is counted in the adult:child ratio; and

(a)Any person who is fifteen (15) years of age or older who will reside in a Child Care agency.

(b) New background checks are required for all staff and residents when a Chils Care agency moves from one class of care to another, such as when a family home becomes a group home or when a Child Care agency is sold and staff remain emoployed by the new owner or anytime a child care agency is issued a license that is not the renewal of an existing license. This requirement does not apply to background checks completed within the last one hundred and eighty (180) days.

(c) Background checks are required for all staff at least every five (5) years.

(d) Requirements for disclosure of criminal/juvenile and State register history and fingerprinting, are provided by T.C.A. § 71-3-507 and as required by the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act.

(2) Responsibility for Providing Fingerprint Sample; Prohibition of Contact with Children Prior to Completion of Criminal History Review. (a) The general requirements regarding responsibility for providing background checks and prohibition of contact with children prior to completion of criminal history review are provided at T.C.A. § 71-3-507.[PH8]

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45. If I own multiple locations of a Child Care Center, do I need to be fingerprinted for each location?

No, you will just need to be fingerprinted one time, if the only difference in the Provider ID (FEIN #) for the locations is the three-digit suffix.

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46. Does the Pastor of a church that contains a Child Care need to be fingerprinted?

Yes, if the building for daycare is connected to the church or the Pastor has access to children.

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47. If I go to the Clerk of Court and they give me a document that shows “No Record” of my charge, will I be able to work?

No, “No Record” does not mean a charge was expunged or dismissed. It only indicates the charge is not found, which could be due to the age and time period of the charge.

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48. If I am a CEO or Owner of a Tennessee Child Care, but I live in another State, do I need to be fingerprinted?

Yes, if you going to have access to the children.

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49. When my Group Home/Family Home was opened/licensed my child, who lives with me, was under fifteen years old. If my child still lives with me when they turn fifteen, do they need to be fingerprinted?

Yes.

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50. My sick older relative has moved in with me, into my licensed Group Home/Family Home, they   do not leave their room, does this sick older relative need to be fingerprinted?

Yes, because there is access to the children.

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51. I own a Child Care located in Tennessee, but I have moved to another State and I am due for my five-year re-print, can I complete my fingerprints in a State outside of Tennessee?

Yes, you will need to go to the Identigo website: https://tn.ibtfingerprint.com/workflow/28TXS5 or call Identigo at 855-226-2937 for instructions.

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52. How often do I have to be fingerprinted to work for an Adult Care Center?

Once, no re-prints required for Adult Care Centers at this time.

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53. Do Adult Care applicants need to complete out of State paperwork for background checks in other States that they lived, worked or went to school in the last five years?

No, no out of State checks are required for Adult Care applicants, at this time.

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54. What offenses exclude a person from an Adult Care Agency?

All of the charges that exclude an applicant from a Child Care, see answer to question 15, in addition to any charge related to money/finances.

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55. What do I do if my fingerprints are rejected?

The vendors, Idemia (via IdentoGO Centers) and TBI, will advise applicants when their fingerprints are rejected and provide them with instructions on how to be re-fingerprinted.

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56. What is the ID number for an Authorized Child Care Professional? Where do they get the number?

Email ccbackground.dhs@tn.gov with Name of Agency and county.

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57. What does an applicant need to submit to request a waiver hearing?

A letter stating why you would like a hearing, the fingerprint disclosure form and any recommendation letter(s) that you may have.

The additional questions below were taken from clarifications issued by the Office of Child Care at:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/ccdf-acf-piq-2017-01

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58. Are license-exempt Child Care providers that are not receiving CCDF funds required to meet the background check requirements?

No, Child Care providers are not subject to background check requirements if they: (1) are not licensed, regulated, or registered; and (2) do not receive CCDF funds. Such providers do not meet the definition of “Child Care provider” in the background check section of the law and final rule. In accordance with section 658H(i)(1), the background check requirements in the CCDBG Act apply to all licensed, regulated, or registered child care providers, regardless of whether they receive CCDF funds, and all license-exempt providers that receive CCDF (with the exception of individuals who are related to all children for whom child care services are provided). States have the flexibility to determine which providers are considered licensed, regulated, or registered. As an example, if a faith-based provider is not licensed, regulated, or registered and does not serve CCDF children, that provider would not be subject to the background check requirements of the CCDBG Act. In addition, the list of disqualifications for employment specifically do not apply to Child Care staff members of licensed providers that do not serve children receiving CCDF subsidies. This gives States the flexibility to determine employment disqualifications, if any, for Child Care providers who may be licensed, regulated, or registered, but do not receive CCDF funds.

Background Checks Apply:

Background Checks Do NOT Apply:

Any licensed, regulated or registered provider* except relatives

License-exempt Non-CCDF providers

Any provider who receives CCDF except relatives

Relative providers regardless of CCDF status

States have the flexibility to determine which providers are considered licensed, regulated, or registered.

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59. If public school pre-k programs in the state are not licensed, regulated, or registered by the Lead Agency and do not serve any children receiving CCDF subsidy, are they required to meet the background check requirements? 

No. Child Care providers that do not meet the definition of “Child Care provider” in the law and final rule, including providers that are not licensed, regulated, or registered under State law and do not receive CCDF funds, are not subject to these requirements. In addition, our understanding is that many States do not consider public school pre-k programs to be Child Care providers, and these programs would not be subject to the background check requirements.

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60. Are the criminal background check requirements applicable to those caregivers who are registered with the State solely for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and do not serve any children receiving CCDF subsidies? 

States have discretion to determine whether or not these caregivers are considered “registered” and therefore subject to background checks. In accordance with section 658H(i)(1), the background check requirements in the CCDBG Act apply to all licensed, regulated, or registered child care providers, regardless of whether they receive CCDF funds, and all license-exempt providers that receive CCDF (with the exception of individuals who are related to all children for whom child care services are provided). We have not defined “licensed,” “regulated,” or “registered” so States have the flexibility in defining these terms. Some States consider “registered” providers to be those providers that receive CCDF funds. States have the flexibility to define whether other Child Care providers are also included in this definition. In addition, some States have different terms for these providers, including “listed” or “certified,” as discussed in the preamble language in the final rule.

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61. What should a State do if all background check components are not completed within 45 days?

While we expect checks to be completed in the timeframe established by the Act, Lead Agencies may create their own procedures in the event that one or more of the components of a background check are not complete within the required 45 days. Likewise, States also have the flexibility to make employment decisions in the event that not all background check components are completed within 45 days. A State must process, at the very least, either the FBI fingerprint check or the search of the State criminal repository, using fingerprints in the State where the staff member resides, before a Child Care staff member may begin work.

In instances where a State is waiting for interstate background check components, ACF does not intend to penalize States that have made a good faith effort to request information from other States.

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62. Is the FBI fingerprint check duplicative of the search of the State criminal repository?

The CCDBG Act requires a search of both the FBI fingerprint check and the State criminal history record repositories. The FBI maintains a national criminal history record database which contains criminal history records from Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and is used by the FBI to facilitate interstate criminal record exchange. The records contained within the FBI’s database are based upon positive identification and provide a link between those record systems maintained in each State and the FBI. However, there may be information in State databases that is not in the FBI database. In most cases, a search of both the State criminal records and an FBI fingerprint check returns the most up-to-date record and better addresses instances where individuals are not forthcoming regarding their past residences, or committed crimes in a State in which they did not reside.

For States participating in the FBI’s National Fingerprint File (NFF) program, an FBI fingerprint check is duplicative of the search of the State’s criminal history record repository. The NFF States respond to record requests for all authorized noncriminal justice purposes and as such the FBI ceases to maintain duplicate criminal history data for these States.

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63. When a State is participating in the FBI’s National Fingerprint File (NFF) program, does an FBI fingerprint check also satisfy the requirement to search the State criminal repository?

CCDF Background Check Components

States participating in NFF must complete:

States NOT participating in the NFF must complete:

FBI Fingerprint Check

National Crime Information Center National Sex Offender Registry

In-State Criminal Repository

 

Interstate Criminal Repository in other States of residence for past 5 years

Only for non-NFF States

Only for non-NFF States

State Sex Offender Registry, in State and other States of residence for past 5 years

State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry, in State and other States of residence for past 5 years

Yes, we determined that for States participating in the NFF program, an FBI fingerprint check satisfies the requirement to check both the FBI fingerprint database and the requirement to search the State’s own criminal history record repository. For States participating in the NFF program, a separate search of the State criminal history record repository is not necessary as this type of search is performed prior to forwarding the fingerprints to the FBI as part of the NFF participation requirements.

The same is true for the interstate background check requirements: we have determined that an FBI fingerprint check also satisfies the requirement to perform an interstate check of another State’s criminal history record repository if the responding State (where the child care staff member has resided within the past five years) participates in the NFF program. It is unnecessary to conduct both the FBI fingerprint check and the search of an NFF State’s criminal history record repository.

However, if a State does not participate in the NFF program, separate searches of both the FBI database and the State’s criminal history record repository are required. For these non-NFF States, there is no measurement for the percent of duplication between the State and FBI databases, and therefore both are required, as indicated in the CCDBG Act. Additionally, searches of non-NFF State criminal history repositories are required if the individual has resided in a non-NFF State within the past five years.

More information on the NFFVisit disclaimer page, including the list of participating States, can be found online.

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