The California Health and Safety Code requires a background check of all applicants, licensees, adult residents, volunteers under certain conditions and employees of community care facilities who have contact with clients. If the California Department of Social Services finds that an individual has been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation, the individual can not work or be present in any community care facility unless they receive a criminal record exemption from the Community Care Licensing Division, Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB). Simply defined, an exemption is a Department authorized written document that "exempts" the individual from the requirement of having a criminal record clearance. CBCB also examines arrest records to determine if there is a possible danger to clients (Health & Safety Code sections 1522, 1568.08, 1569.17, and 1596.871).
How the Background Check is Conducted
When an individual submits fingerprints, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) conducts a background check. If the individual has no criminal history, DOJ will forward a clearance notice to the applicant or licensee and to CBCB. If the individual has a criminal history, DOJ will send a criminal record transcript to CBCB. The transcript will show arrests and convictions. CBCB staff will review the transcript and if the convictions are for crimes that may be exempted, CBCB will send an exemption notification letter to the applicant or licensee. The letter explains how to request an exemption and lists the documents/information that must be submitted to request an exemption. The individual may not be present in the facility until an exemption is granted by CBCB.
CRIMINAL RECORD EXEMPTIONS
Role of the Community Care Licensee or License Applicant
When an applicant or licensee receives an exemption notification letter from CBCB concerning an employee, volunteer or adult resident, he/she must decide whether to request the exemption for that individual. If an exemption is desired, the licensee must assist the individual by mailing all exemption documentation to CBCB. If the licensee does not wish to pursue the exemption, and subsequently terminates the employee or removes the non-client adult resident, the licensee must give that person the "Individual Exemption Request" included with the notification letter. This document allows the individual to request an exemption on his/her own behalf. A person seeking an individual exemption may not be present in any community care facility until an exemption is approved by CBCB. Prospective foster parents applying for certification through a foster family agency can not seek an individual exemption. The foster family agency must decide if an exemption is desired. However, employees of a foster family agency can seek an individual exemption.
What Convictions Require an Exemption?
All convictions other than minor traffic violations, including misdemeanors, felonies and convictions that occurred a long time ago require an exemption. However, individuals convicted of serious crimes such as robbery, sexual battery, child abuse, elder or dependant adult abuse, rape, arson or kidnapping are not eligible for an exemption.
The Department of Social Services is prohibited by law from granting exemptions to individuals convicted of certain crimes. For a complete list of crimes for which the Department is prohibited from granting an exemption you may click here.
To request an exemption the individual must submit:
- A detailed description of what the individual will be doing at the facility.
- A written request from the licensee/applicant on behalf of the individual.
- A written request from the affected individual on his/her own behalf if the licensee chooses not to request an exemption and terminates the individual from employment.
- A copy of the signed Criminal Record Statement (LIC-508) that was completed at the time of hire.
- A written statement signed by the individual describing the events surrounding each conviction including the approximate date, what happened, why it happened, and any other information he/she feels is important about the crime. The individual shall also address what he/she has done or how his/her life has changed to prevent him/her from committing this type of offense again.
- Documentation (Minute Order, court ordered Judgment of Conviction or a letter from the Probation Officer) that the individual's current or last period of probation is/was informal (optional).
- Written verification of any training, classes, courses, treatment or counseling sessions completed
- Three signed character reference statements including the telephone number and address of the person writing the reference. Character references must be current and can not be from the individual's relatives or family members nor from employees associated with the licensed facility. The character reference letters must be dated. References must be on a reference statement form (LIC 301E).
- The individual's current mailing address and telephone number
Deadline for Exemptions
All requested exemption documents must be received by CBCB no later than 45 days from the date of the exemption notification letter. If documentation is not received by the deadline, the case will be closed. If an exemption is requested, it will take at least 75 days to process.
Notification of Decision
The applicant or licensee seeking the exemption will be notified in writing of CBCB's decision. With individual exemption requests, the individual seeking the exemption will be notified.
Right to Appeal
If an exemption is denied, the individual may request an appeal in writing. The appeal must be received by the Department of Social Services no later than 15 days from the date of the denial notification letter. Appeals received after the deadline will not be considered.
Transferring an Exemption
With the approval of CBCB, an exemption may be transferred to a similar community care facility. A facility seeking an exemption transfer must submit the following requirements to CBCB:
- Form LIC 9188 (Criminal Record Exemption Transfer Request)
- Form LIC 508 (Criminal Record Statement) with a written explanation of all convictions;
- A copy of a valid California driver's license or valid photo ID;
- A duty statement or job description.
In addition, facilities serving children must submit a new Child Abuse Central Index check to the Department of Justice with $15 if the previous CACI clearance is dated prior to January 1, 1999.