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3000 Background Checks for External User Access to Information Resources

CBCU November 2016

CBCU completes background checks on individuals who are not employed by DFPS but who have a business need for direct access to DFPS information technology resources or facilities.

Access is granted only after the individuals are assessed for risk based on the background check results. The criteria used for assessing risk are explained in this policy.

A background check includes:

  •  a DPS Criminal History check; and

  •  a DFPS History check.

DFPS may also require additional types of background checks, such as an Out-of-State Criminal History check or an Out-of-State Abuse or Neglect History check.

  •  An Out-of-State Criminal History check is required by DFPS when a person currently resides out-of-state or resided out-of-state in the last two years. If there is no out-of-state residency within the last two years, the check may still be required for good cause, such as when DFPS has a reasonable belief that an individual may have a criminal history in another state.

  •  An Out-of-State Abuse or Neglect History check may be required by DFPS for good cause, such as when DFPS has a reasonable belief that an individual may have a history of abuse or neglect in another state.

Please see 1300 Definitions of Terms for definitions of the different types of background checks.

3100 Populations Exempted From Background Checks for Access to Information Resources

CBCU November 2016

The following populations are not subject to the requirements in 3000 Background Checks for External User Access to Information Resources and its sub-items. Instead, they require a background check under the DFPS policies listed below:

  •  For DFPS employees (including paid interns and students who receive a stipend), see 4000 DFPS History Checks for Prospective Employees and operating policy HR-1113 Criminal Background Checks for DFPS Applicants and Employees.

  •  For DFPS volunteers (including unpaid interns), see 7000 Background Check Procedures in the Volunteer and Community Engagement Policy Handbook.

  •  For Texas CASA, see 5000 Background Checks for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members.

If an employee or volunteer clears a DFPS background check under one of the policies referenced above, he or she is not required to request an additional background check for access to information technology resources or DFPS facilities.

For example, a DFPS volunteer who requests access to a network or IMPACT system account is not required to undergo an additional background check, as long as the eMAC indicates that a background check was completed for the volunteer under a different DFPS policy within the last 12 months. See the definition of eMAC in 1300 Definitions of Terms.

3200 Background Check Waivers

CBCU June 2017

DFPS may waive certain background check requirements for access to information resources under certain conditions.

For a list of entities that have been granted a waiver, please see Appendix 3000-3 External Entities Granted a Non-Expiring Waiver.

Waiver for Criminal History Check

CBCU may grant a non-expiring waiver for the criminal history requirements if:

  •  the individual’s employer (that is, the DFPS contractor or HHSC) has already conducted a more stringent background check on the individual (such as an FBI fingerprint-based check);

  •  the employer is at least as strict as DFPS about the types of criminal history matches that constitute a bar to accessing confidential information; and

  •  the employer already conducts routine background checks for criminal history on employees or contractors after the initial check is conducted. The background checks must be conducted annually (or more often).

If a non-expiring waiver is approved, the employer must notify CBCU if the employer’s background check requirements or policies change.

Waiver for DFPS History Check

CBCU may grant a non-expiring waiver for renewal of a DFPS History check if DFPS is already monitoring the IMPACT system for new reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation made against persons who have access to DFPS information resources. CBCU monitors individuals who have a network account or access to a DFPS application. CBCU also receives notice when new allegations are reported.

Requesting a Waiver

The DFPS sponsor requests a waiver on behalf of an employer by contacting CBCU’s division administrator in writing.

The request must include:

  •  the name of the individual or population seeking access;

  •  the type of background check or frequency being waived;

  •  any supporting documentation regarding background checks conducted by the employer, including the specific types of criminal history that the employer considers a bar to employment; and

  •  the name of the individual’s employer (for example, the contractor, vendor, or auditor).

CBCU’s division administrator issues a decision in writing to the sponsor. If the sponsor disagrees with the decision, the sponsor can appeal to the DFPS associate commissioner of program operations. The associate commissioner’s decision regarding the waiver is final.

3300 Division of Responsibilities for Background Checks for External Users

3310 Sponsor Responsibilities

CBCU November 2016

Sponsors:

  •  communicate with employers to ensure compliance with background check policy;

  •  take appropriate actions to address issues of noncompliance;

  •  ensure that background checks are submitted only in accordance with the requirements of 3000 Background Checks for External User Access to Information Resources and its sub-items;

  •  notify CBCU and program support when an individual is no longer employed with his or her original DFPS contractor or no longer requires access to DFPS information technology resources or facilities; and

  •  ensure background checks are completed and approved by CBCU before allowing an individual to access DFPS information technology resources or facilities.

3320 Data Integrity Specialist Responsibilities

CBCU November 2016

Data integrity specialists initiate background check requests for individuals who require access to DFPS computer applications.  

Data integrity specialists must notify the sponsor and CBCU if the individual provides any out-of-state addresses or if there are any other indicators that the individual has lived out of state the previous two years.

3330 CBCU Staff Responsibilities

CBCU January 2016

CBCU staff:

  •  complete background checks accurately and in a timely manner; and

  •  notify sponsors about the results of the background checks, in accordance with this policy.

3400 Procedures

3410 Requesting a Background Check

CBCU January 2016

Individuals who are not DFPS employees but need access to DFPS information technology resources or facilities for business purposes consent to a background check by completing and signing Form 4047 Non-DFPS Staff Computer Security Agreement.

The individual’s sponsor then:

  •  signs Form 4047, attaches it to an Add a New Person eMAC, and submits it to the DI specialist for the region, along with any supporting documentation for the background check to be initiated;

  •  ensures that the background check request is submitted and completed before access is allowed;

  •  ensures that the individual’s employer has verified the accuracy of the vital information obtained on each individual seeking access, for the purpose of providing appropriate access and for the purpose of maintaining accurate background check-related documentation, including documentation used for background check renewals;

  •  retains the signed original of Form 4047 and the responses provided by the CBCU regarding the request for a background check;

  •  initiates a renewal background check, if required, by signing a new Form 4047 and submitting it to the DI specialist;

  •  notifies the CBCU if an individual discloses any criminal history or abuse or neglect history by sending an email to the DFPS External Access BGC mailbox that includes the individual’s name and Social Security number, and the nature of the offense; and

  •  submits a Remove a Person eMAC form when the individual no longer requires access to information technology resources.

Once Form 4047 Non-DFPS Staff Computer Security Agreement is completed and forwarded to the Data Integrity (DI) specialist in the Program Support Division, the DI specialist initiates the background check request through the Automated Background Check System (ABCS).

The DFPS sponsor then receives formal notification from the CBCU regarding the outcome.

Notification is received:

  •  by email if the request is for facility access only; or

  •  by the approval of an eMAC, if the request is for access to DFPS resources.

Individuals must not be allowed access to DFPS facilities or DFPS information technology resources until the initial background check has been cleared by the CBCU.

3411 Requesting a Background Check After a Network Account Has Been Deleted

CBCU January 2016

All new accounts that have not been accessed by the approved user within 30 days are disabled. Accounts that are inactive for 90 days are deleted.

To reinstate a deleted account, a new background check is required, regardless of the length of time between the deletion and the request for the account to be reinstated.

See Information Security Standards, 1.2.12.

3420 Out-of-State Criminal History Checks

CBCU November 2016

Individuals who live outside of Texas or have lived outside of Texas in the last two years must prove that they have no criminal history in any state where they have lived in the last two years.

Individuals who have a recent criminal history must provide a full report that includes the specific arrests and final dispositions on their criminal history from the statewide law enforcement repository for the state or states in question. A directory of state criminal history repositories is available on the CBCU Resources page on the DFPS Safety Net.

Whether it provides proof of clearance or shows criminal history, the report must include:

  •  the person’s full name;

  •  the person’s identifying information, including date of birth and Social Security number. In some unique situations, individuals may not have a Social Security number. In that instance, other unique identifiers should be provided such as a passport or visa number;

  •  the name of the state providing the report; and

  •  the date that the background check was conducted.

If an individual has a criminal history in another state, a criminal history report from that state is required.

An FBI check may be required if there are any concerns that full disclosure of the person’s criminal history was not obtained from the individual.

If an individual is unable to obtain a criminal history check from a particular state, the individual can request a fingerprint-based criminal history check through the FBI. If an FBI check is needed, the sponsor contacts CBCU for information on the process and cost.

Completing an out-of-state criminal background check can be a challenge. If the individual resides in or is visiting Texas, he or she can contact CBCU for assistance in initiating a fingerprint-based FBI check. Please see DFPS’s Background Check page for contact information.

Individuals will not be allowed to access DFPS technology resources or facilities until all required background checks have been completed and approved by CBCU. See 3464 Incomplete Out-of-State Background Checks

3430 Out-of-State Abuse or Neglect History Checks

CBCU January 2016

If DFPS has good cause, DFPS may require an individual to obtain an abuse or neglect history from another state.

The individual is responsible for requesting an abuse or neglect history from the state in question; however, the individual’s DFPS sponsor may contact the CBCU for help. The CBCU can assist the individual, if he or she is having difficulty obtaining information or clearance from another state.

If the individual refuses to provide the results of an abuse or neglect history check from another state, DFPS may bar the individual from access.

The CBCU may reverse a bar to access that is imposed under this guideline, if:

  •  the CBCU receives the requested information; and

  •  the CBCU’s risk assessment determines that the individual’s history does not present a bar according to the Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Member.

3440 Background Check Renewals

CBCU January 2016

Unless the CBCU has approved a waiver, the DFPS sponsor submits a new background check request for each individual every 12 months from the date of the original request for as long as the individual is authorized to access DFPS information technology resources or facilities. The individual is allowed to continue accessing information technology resources or DFPS facilities pending the outcome of a renewal background check.

The CBCU notifies the DFPS sponsor about the results of the renewal background check. If the results of the renewal check reveal either a criminal history or a history of abuse or neglect that would bar the individual from access, the DFPS sponsor ensures that the individual is no longer allowed to access DFPS facilities or information technology resources.

3450 New Incidents and Investigations

3451 Reporting New Criminal Incidents (Self-Reporting Requirement)

CBCU January 2016

Individuals who have a background check performed under this policy are required to report to the contractor or DFPS sponsor, within 10 business days, any new arrest by any federal, state, or local agency or board. This is referred to as self-reporting. The DFPS sponsor or contractor ensures that individuals are aware of the requirement to self-report.

Contractors report new incidents for both themselves and their staff. To report a new incident, the contractor completes a new Form 4047 and submits the form to the Data Integrity (DI) specialist.

The DI specialist informs the CBCU about the self-reported incident and ensures that a new background check request is launched in the ABCS portal.

The CBCU:

  •  assesses the nature and seriousness of the alleged crime and the circumstances surrounding the crime, requesting additional information from the contractor or DI specialist, if needed; and

  •  determines whether the individual may continue to have access to DFPS information technology resources and facilities while the disposition is pending or must be temporarily denied access pending a final disposition regarding the incident.

The individual is denied access to DFPS information technology resources and facilities until the contractor is notified otherwise by the CBCU.

If the individual or contractor fails to notify the CBCU about any new arrests, the CBCU may revoke the clearance that was provided based on the previous background check or the approval that was given based on the previous risk assessment.

3452 New DFPS Abuse and Neglect Investigations

CBCU January 2016

SWI notifies the CBCU when a new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is received that involves an individual who has had a background check conducted under this policy.

The CBCU works with the individual’s DFPS sponsor to conduct a risk assessment on a case-by-case basis, according to the individual’s level of involvement in the investigation and the circumstances surrounding the investigation. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the allegations, the CBCU and the DFPS sponsor consult with the DFPS Office of General Counsel (Legal Division) to make a determination.

The CBCU and the DFPS sponsor determine whether the individual:

  •  may continue to have access to DFPS information technology resources and facilities while the investigation is pending; or

  •  must temporarily be denied access while the investigation is ongoing.

If the CBCU and the DFPS sponsor determine that the allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation reach the threshold of risk, the DFPS sponsor notifies the contractor that the individual is temporarily denied access to DFPS resources. The CBCU then tracks the DFPS investigation until it closes and a final disposition is rendered.

Once the investigation closes, the CBCU notifies the DFPS sponsor about the final disposition.

The DFPS sponsor then does as follows, depending on the circumstances:

  •  If the CBCU and the DFPS sponsor, after working together and consulting with the Legal Division, determine that the individual must be permanently barred, the DFPS sponsor communicates the decision to the individual.

  •  If the CBCU and the DFPS sponsor determine that an individual who had been temporarily denied access is now cleared, the DFPS sponsor communicates the decision to the individual and reinstates the individual’s access to DFPS information technology resources and facilities.

3460 Background Check Determinations

CBCU January 2016

DFPS sponsors are notified about whether the request for access is approved or denied based on the results of the individual’s background check.

Determinations to approve or deny are made by the CBCU, unless the situation involves a new DFPS abuse and neglect investigation of an individual who was given access based on a previous background check. In such a case, the CBCU works with the DFPS sponsor to make a determination about the new investigation. See 6.7 New DFPS Abuse and Neglect Investigations.

The initial determination is based on the Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Applicants and Employees and the Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Member. References to DFPS employment in the charts also apply to individuals who are not DFPS employees but are subject to this background check policy.

The charts indicate:

  •  the criminal convictions that are absolute bars to DFPS employment;

  •  the criminal convictions that are a likely or possible contraindication to DFPS employment (and are eligible for a risk assessment under this policy);

  •  the DFPS history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that is an absolute bar to DFPS employment; and

  •  the DFPS history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that requires further review to determine the person’s eligibility for DFPS employment (and is eligible for a risk assessment under this policy).

3461 Background Check Determinations: Cleared

CBCU January 2016

If an individual has no history of any criminal convictions listed on the Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Applicants and Employees and no history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that is identified as requiring further action on the Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Member, the sponsor is notified that access is approved for the individual.

3462 Background Check Determinations: Absolute Bars

CBCU January 2016

If an individual has a history of criminal convictions or of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that is identified as an Absolute Bar (or Barred) in Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Applicants and Employees and Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Member, the sponsor is notified that access is not granted to the individual.

3463 Background Check Determinations: Risk Assessment

CBCU January 2016

If an individual has a history of criminal convictions or abuse, neglect, or exploitation and the history is eligible for a risk assessment, the CBCU conducts a risk assessment before rendering a decision. In regard to criminal history, anything identified as a Contraindication on the Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Applicants and Employees is eligible for a risk assessment. In regard to DFPS history, anything identified as a Review on the Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Member is eligible for a risk assessment.

An individual is not granted access until the risk assessment is complete and the individual is cleared. The CBCU may seek additional information, such as information from a court to obtain a final disposition, to assist in the assessment.

The CBCU also conducts a risk assessment on juvenile criminal history obtained from DPS or the FBI. If the CBCU assesses that there is risk of immediate harm if access is allowed, the CBCU consults with the DFPS Office of General Counsel (Legal Division) and, if appropriate, denies the individual access after legal consultation.

Certain criminal convictions not specifically noted in the Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Applicants and Employees may require a risk assessment, if there is concern that the criminal offense poses a risk of harm or loss to DFPS or its clients.

The CBCU does not disclose any DFPS history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation outside of DFPS. Procedures for emergency disclosure when an individual’s DFPS history presents immediate health and safety concerns for others are outlined by, and may be addressed through, the DFPS program that conducted the investigation.

Based on the risk assessment outlined above, the CBCU notifies the sponsor either that the individual is cleared and may have access, or the individual is not cleared and access is denied. The specific criminal history or history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is not included in the notice approving or denying clearance.

3464 Incomplete Out-of-State Background Checks

CBCU November 2016

There may be unique circumstances that make completing an out-of-state background check challenging. However, all required background checks must be completed before CBCU grants access to DFPS information technology resources or facilities.

If a background check is not successfully completed, it is closed and recorded as a bar for failure to comply. The individual must not be granted access to DFPS technology resources or facilities.

The background check is closed and individual barred in the following circumstances:

  •  CBCU closes a background check within 10 calendar days if the individual does not communicate with CBCU staff or provide needed information and documents to successfully complete the background check.

  •  CBCU closes the background check in 30 days if attempts to complete the background check have been unsuccessful.

  •  An individual may contact CBCU to request an extension to the 30 day deadline. The contractor must provide proof that reasonable steps have been taken to meet the requirement. 

If a background check was closed and the individual barred under these circumstances, the sponsor can submit a new eMac and Form 4047 to reinitiate the process once the required documentation is available. Please see 3410 Requesting a Background Check.

3470 Requests to Review the CBCU’s Background Check Decisions

CBCU January 2016

A DFPS sponsor may request, on behalf of an individual or an individual’s employer, a review of the CBCU’s decision to deny access. The sponsor must submit the request for review in writing to the CBCU within 30 days of the date that the CBCU issued a decision.

The request must include:

  •  the name of the subject of the background check; and

  •  the date the decision was issued.

The review conducted by CBCU management ensures that all policies and procedures were followed. If necessary, CBCU management reviews the decision with the DFPS Office of General Counsel (Legal Division) before issuing a response.

If the individual is denied access because of a criminal history, then the CBCU responds to the sponsor in writing.

If the individual is denied access because of a history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, then the CBCU works directly with the individual who is the subject of the background check to discuss the finding and the CBCU’s decision to bar the individual from having access.

The CBCU cannot disclose specifics of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation history to the employer or any other individual other than the subject of the check. The CBCU reviews the decision after further discussion with the individual and provides a response to both the individual who is the subject of the background check and the DFPS sponsor, regardless of whether or not the CBCU’s decision changed during the review.

If after reviewing the original decision, the CBCU clears the individual for access, the DFPS sponsor notifies the employer.

The CBCU takes into consideration the following circumstances when conducting the review:

  •  Additional information provided proving that the person in the abuse, neglect, or exploitation case in question, or the subject of the arrest or conviction, is not the subject of the background check that the CBCU conducted. This is considered to be a mismatch.

  •  New information provided regarding the investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

In cases where new information was obtained during the review, the CBCU may notify the program area that made the finding of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to determine whether an internal review by the program is warranted.

If the sponsor or individual disagrees with the CBCU’s review decision, he or she may request a second review by the DFPS chief operating officer. The sponsor or individual makes this request directly to the chief operating officer or through the CBCU, following the steps for requesting a review that are explained directly above, in this item.

The chief operating officer’s decision regarding the review is final.

3480 DFPS Background Checks and Employment

CBCU January 2016

If the CBCU issues a decision to deny access to an individual, that denial only prohibits the individual from accessing DFPS information technology resources or DFPS facilities.

The decision to hire or terminate an individual is made at the discretion of the employer. However, the DFPS sponsor must ensure that individuals who are not cleared by the CBCU do not have access to DFPS information technology resources or facilities.

3490 Use of DFPS Background Check Resources

CBCU January 2016

DFPS background check resources may not be used to request background checks on persons who are not subject to this policy or another DFPS background check policy.

Using DFPS background check resources to obtain background check information on persons who are not subject to this policy violates DFPS policy and may result in adverse action.

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