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Obtaining a Child Abuse Central Registry Check in Each State

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General Licensing

1. Who do I have to request background checks on for my day care or residential operation?

There are several different types of background checks that may be required. The type of background check required depends on the person's role and your operation type. Please see Types of Background Checks. A Texas Criminal History Check, National Criminal History check, and Central Registry check are required for the following individuals at all operation types:

  • The director, owner, and/or operator of the operation (including a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, or a chief executive officer (CEO) of an operation),
    • This does not include an individual who is only a member of the governing body or board of directors of a corporation or association that owns or governs an operation;
  • Each employee of the operation that is housed at the operation's location,
  • Each prospective employee of the operation, and
  • Each person, at least 14 year of age who is not a client in care, who:
    • Is counted in child-to-caregiver ratios;
    • Resides or will reside in the operation; or
    • Has unsupervised access to children in care at the operation.

Child-placing agencies must also request a Texas Criminal History Check, Fingerprint-Based Criminal History check, and Central Registry check for the following individuals. An Out-of-State Abuse/Neglect History check is also required for any of these individuals who have resided out of state in the five years prior to their background check request.

  • Each current or prospective foster parent providing foster care through your child-placing agency, and
  • Each prospective adoptive parent seeking to adopt through your child-placing agency,
  • Household members in the foster and adoptive homes, and
  • Caregivers in foster and adoptive homes.

The following individuals only require name-based criminal history checks and DFPS central registry checks, but do not require fingerprint-based criminal history checks unless the person has lived in another state in the previous five years or you suspect the person may have criminal history in another state:

  • Each person 14 years of age or older, other than a client in care, who will regularly or frequently be present at an operation or prospective adoptive home while children are in care.

You can find more information regarding which individuals need background checks in the Texas Administrative Code in 40 TAC §745.615.
Note: You do not have to request a background check on a professional who is licensed or is required to have a background check to meet compliance with another governmental entity's requirements if:

  • You do not employ or contract with the professional.
  • The professional will only be present at the child-care operation in an official capacity.
  • For day care operations, you obtain written parental consent before allowing the professional to have unsupervised access to a child in care.

Individuals with professional licensing or certification who have had a background check completed through another government entity includes, but is not limited to, Early Childhood Intervention workers, physical therapists, speech therapists, counselors, and psychologists.

Please see CBCU's Fingerprinting page for further information regarding the fingerprinting process.

Please see CBCU's Background Check Fees page to learn about fees for background checks, and who is responsible for paying them.

2. What does it mean to be regularly or frequently present at an operation?

A person is regularly or frequently present at a child-care operation when that person:

  • is present at the operation three or more times in a 30-day period;
  • visits or resides in the operation for more than seven days;
  • visits or resides in the operation three or more times per year for visits that last more than 48 hours at a time; or
  • is present at the operation on a scheduled basis.

At day care operations, parents or legal guardians are not considered to be regularly or frequently present if they are only at the operation to pick up or drop off their child, or if they are visiting their child during the day. If the parent or legal guardian is present to volunteer at the operation on a scheduled basis, then that would be considered regularly or frequently present.

See §745.601 of the Texas Administrative Code for more information.

3. Who processes the background checks for CCL operations?

The DFPS Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU) processes background checks.

Requests for background checks are submitted to DFPS, and results are sent to the operation through a cleared or a match notification letter from the CLASS Project e-mail box or a CBCU inspector. Send court documents and Risk Evaluation paperwork to the CBCU inspector assigned to the operation, whose contact information is provided at the bottom of any background check result match letters. The CCL inspector communicates with the CBCU inspector to ensure that all background check requirements are met. You may also find your CBCU inspector or contact the CBCU Support Line here.

4. If I apply for a permit, what background checks should I run if my spouse or other household member is stationed with the military outside of Texas?

If the person is your spouse, you must request a name-based check and a fingerprint-based check at the time of your application. However, you don't need to complete the fingerprint-based check at the time of the application - you can completed itwhen your spouse returns to your residence.

If the household member is not your spouse and is stationed with the military outside of Texas, request both the name-based and fingerprint-based checks upon the person's return to your residence.

5. How will I know when my background check request is complete?

After the CBCU has processed the background check they will send you a notification. A search is performed using the person's identifying information (name, date of birth, Social Security Number) or fingerprints to determine if the person has any criminal or Central Registry history. You must receive notification of the results for each type of check requested for the person before the background check is considered complete.

Below are the notification types:

“Cleared” notification

If the person “clears” DFPS requirements for any type of check, your operation will receive notification by email or letter. A "cleared" status means no history was found for that person for that type of background check. A separate notification is sent for each specific type of background check that was requested for each person. Clearance notifications will list one of the following types of background checks at the beginning of the notification email or letter:

  • Background Check Results: DPS
  • Background Check Results: FBI
  • Background Check Results: Central Registry

"Match" notification

If the person appears to be a "match" to any type of check, meaning that history was found for that type of background check, your operation will receive notification in a separate background check match letter (delivered by email or mail) for each type of background check. After the second paragraph of the match notification, the CBCU inspector will mark one, two, or three of the checkboxes to indicate which type of background check results are included in that specific match notification.

The checkboxes indicate that the notification you have received includes history from at least one of the following sources:

  • Department of Public Safety
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • DFPS Central Registry

The match notification letter for a person may include results for more than one type of check. Your operation is responsible for ensuring that the results for each type of check required for a person are received, in the form of a "cleared" and/or "match" notification, before allowing direct access to children in care.

If you receive notification of a person having a match, the match letter will contain the following information:

  • A summary of the criminal history (record of arrest and prosecution) and/or the Central Registry finding (type of abuse/neglect).
  • A determination of whether the results of the indicated type of background check are a violation of minimum standards.
  • Notice regarding whether the person is able to be present at the operation (with or without conditions).
  • Any actions required by the operation.
6. What can I do if I don't believe that the criminal background check results provided are really mine?

For information on how to contest the information found in a person’s DPS result, see the following:

For information on how to contest the information found in a person’s FBI result, see the following pages:

7. Why haven't I received any background check results?

If the background check request was submitted within the past 3 business days, the background check may still be processing.

To verify if your background check was submitted correctly, first login to your Child-Care Provider account, select the "Online Background Check History" from the Child-Care Provider Main Page:

  • The Online Background Check History is listed according to name of the person for whom the background check was requested, and the date the request was entered. Next to this information, the status column will list "Submitted", "Pending" or "Error".
    • If the name of the person requested is not listed in the history, the request may not have been confirmed. You will need to resubmit the background check request.
  • A status of "Submitted" indicates that the request was successfully submitted to the background check unit.
    • If it has been more than 3 business days since the request was submitted and you have not received the results of the Texas Criminal History check and/or Central Registry check, please check the Junk/Spam mail folder of your email account. If you find it there, you'll need to signify that these are not "Junk" or "Spam" in order to receive future notifications in your email inbox. For details, see the Troubleshooting Tips on the last page of the Registration Tutorial in PDF or PowerPoint.
    • If you are still unable to locate any emails from Licensing, please contact your Centralized Background Check Unit representative, who is located on the CBCU Contacts page.
    • If you have not received the person's fingerprint results from DFPS within seven days from the date the person was fingerprinted, please follow up with your operation's assigned CBCU inspector, who is located on the CBCU Contacts page.
  • A status of "Pending" usually occurs if the request was submitted very recently.
  • A status of "Error" means that the request couldn't be submitted to the background check unit and hasn't been processed. This is often because the information submitted for the background check does not match the information in our system. Please contact your CBCU representative, who is located on the CBCU Contacts page, so that the information can be reviewed to determine the error. Once the error is corrected the request will need to be submitted again.
8. Do all required background checks have to be completed before a person may provide direct care or have direct access to children in care in a day care operation or General Residential Operation?

You must always receive the results of a name-based check (both DPS and Central Registry) before allowing a person to provide direct care or have direct access to children in care. In addition, if an FBI check is required, you must also receive the results of the fingerprint check before allowing the person to provide direct care or provide direct access to the children in care, unless:

  • The operation is experiencing a staff shortage, and
  • The results of the name-based DPS and Central Registry checks do not indicate that the person cannot be present at the operation while children are in care. 

The operation should be able to demonstrate that the center was experiencing a staffing shortage, meaning that the operation would not be able to meet compliance with the minimum standards without allowing a person who has not completed his or her fingerprint check to provide direct care or have direct access to the children in care. The operation should speak to their local CCL Inspector, not their CBCU Inspector, for more information regarding identifying a staff shortage.

* In the event of a staff shortage, the person must submit his/her fingerprints as soon as possible, but not later than 30 days after the earliest date the person first:

  • Provides direct care to a child,
  • Has direct access to a child, or
  • Is hired.

Once the operation receives the fingerprint-based check results, the results must not contain any criminal history that would preclude the person from being present at the operation while children are in care.

For Foster and Adoptive homes, see question #1 in the Foster and Adoptive Homes FAQ: Who is required to have a fingerprint-based FBI check in a foster or adoptive home and by when must it be completed?

9. If an individual works at more than one child-care operation owned or operated by the same governing body, what is the process for submitting that individual's background check? Does the individual need a background check at every child-care location he or she works?

A background check request must always be submitted at the individual’s regularly assigned or 'primary' location (operation).

If the individual works at other locations under the same governing body, the other locations do not need to submit a new background check if the individual's background check results from the primary location do not return a minimum standards violation.

If the individual's background check does contain a minimum standards violation, then background checks must be requested for the individual at each location where the individual works. Action required by the background checks, including risk evaluations, must be completed for each location, as well.

Each operation is required to keep a copy of the original background check request or results as proof that a background check was submitted on an individual.

10. After receiving the results of a criminal history check requested by my operation, what requirements must I follow in order to protect this confidential information?

Your operation should protect criminal history record information (CHRI) by complying with the following guidelines:

  • Do not share CHRI with anyone who does not have a business need to access the information.
  • If CHRI is received electronically, the records should be stored electronically as well. Printing copies of results received electronically is discouraged. 
  • For any electronic files containing CHRI, login and password information should be required before the information can be accessed by authorized person(s).
  • If CHRI on paper is received, ensure that paper documents are securely maintained and protected from unauthorized view at all times.  Storage should be in a locked location with only limited access by those who have a business need.   

Public Provider

1. How do I create a provider account online through the DFPS website?

If you do not yet have an online account with CCL, we encourage you to Create an Online Account. The online account gives you access to a variety of tasks, including submitting background checks, reviewing the status of submitted background checks, and making changes to governing body information.

Before creating an online account, it will be helpful to visit the Child-Care Provider Login page on the DFPS website and review the Registration Tutorial PDF or the Registration Tutorial PowerPoint. Both tutorials contain the same information - only the format is different.

  1. Access the Create a Child Care Licensing Account page.
  2. In the "Registration Form" section of the page, select "Yes" for the first question ("Do you have a Permit Number?"). The page will then refresh to a set of fields that you will need to complete in order to register.
  3. Enter your permit/operation number. Your permit/operation number, e-mail address, mailing address zip code will need to match what Licensing has in our records based on your application.
  4. If you successfully submitted your account registration information, you will receive an e-mail containing a link that you must click on in order to activate your account.
  5. If you do not receive the confirmation e-mail (subject line "Complete Registration") within 24-hours, please check your spam folders.  If you still have not received the e-mail, attempt to register again and watch for any errors when you submit your registration.
  6. If you have difficulty registering or receive an error that you are unable to resolve, please contact your local Child Care Licensing office.

After you have received the confirmation e-mail and activated your online account, you may log in to your online account from the Provider Login/Background Checks page. From within your account, you should be able to submit background checks and complete other required activities.

2. What if I forgot my User ID or Password?

Go to the Child-Care Provider Login & Background checks page. Click on the link directly below the login fields "Forgot your User ID or Password", which is located beneath the login button.

Forgot User ID?  

  • Enter your Operation Number and click the "Email User ID" button.
  • Your User ID is sent to the email address you provided during registration. 

Forgot/Need to Reset Password?  

  • Enter your Operation Number and User ID, and then click the "Email Password" button.
  • You will receive a new password that you must enter exactly as it is written. (The User ID does not change.)
  • A new password is sent to the email address you provided during registration.
  • You must use the new password, which is case sensitive, and then change the password once you have successfully logged back into your account.
3. How must background check requests be submitted?

All child-care centers must submit background checks electronically through the Child-Care Provider Login page on the DFPS website.

It will help to first review the Registration Tutorial PDF or the Registration Tutorial PowerPoint, which contains step by step instructions for submitting background checks. Once you have read this document and created a provider account online, you will be able to log in to this account and submit background checks electronically. By submitting the request electronically, the estimated timeframe for DFPS to return the name-based portion of the background check to the center is within 48 hours.

To submit a request for a background check:

  1. Login in to your provider account on the Child-Care Provider Login page on the DFPS website.
  2. Select 'Submit a Background Check' from the available actions and enter the information for the individual.
  3. Select the "FBI Checks Required" checkbox for any individual requiring a fingerprint-based criminal history check.

Child day-care homes should submit background checks electronically, but may also submit requests using paper Form 2971 Request For Background Check. This form also may be obtained from and submitted to your local Licensing representative or your CBCU representative, who can be located on the CBCU Contacts page.

If a child-care provider verifies that an applicant does not have a Social Security number, the provider will not be able to utilize the electronic system and the background check for the applicant must be requested by submitting a completed Form 2971.

4. Why won't the address validate when I am trying to submit a background check request through the public provider site?

At this time, the Child-Care Provider site is not compatible with Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox (versions 49.0 and up), or Safari.  Different browsers have different capabilities, and although these differences may seem minor, it's common for websites to work fine on one browser but poorly on another. For example, the Child-Care Provider site allows the user to log in and attempt to submit a background check; however, when the user attempts to validate an address, the address validation tool pop-up window does not populate.

If you are having trouble submitting background checks, try using a different internet browser. See "Changing Your Default Web Browser" for instructions to change the default web browser. If you continue to have problems submitting background checks, please contact your CBCU representative, who can be located on the CBCU Contacts page.

Day Care Operations

1. What requirements regarding background checks apply to Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers?

If the child-care operation has written permission from the parent(s) to release the child to the Big Brother or Big Sister and follow the standards for releasing the child, the child would be considered in the care of the Big Brother or Big Sister and not in the care of the child care operation. The Big Brother or Big Sister would not have to comply with the background check requirements that apply to licensed child care operations.

The child care operation is responsible for ensuring the Big Brother or Big Sister does not have unsupervised contact with the other children in care.

2. I'm a vendor who provides classes or services (such as teaching martial arts or language skills) at multiple child-care centers. Can I initiate and pay for my own DFPS background checks and fingerprint checks?

You must be a registered or licensed child-care operation to submit background checks electronically. However, you can work with the child-care centers to complete the background check process or you may submit background checks through DFPS as an Exempt Operation. (See Human Resources Code Section 42.041(b) for details on Exempt Operations).

If you have questions regarding whether the services you provide to child-care operations are eligible for Exempt Operation status, please contact your local Licensing office.

To submit background checks through the child-care center:

  1. Submit a completed Form 2971 Request for Background Check directly to each child-care center for which you provide classes or services. Form 2971 will need to be completed for each person you employ that will have access to children in care.
  2. The child-care center will initiate the background check request electronically through the DFPS website.
  3. The CBCU will process the background check request and provide the results directly to the child-care center.

To submit background checks as an Exempt Operation:

  1. Complete a Request for Exemption form located on the Child Care Licensing Forms for Providers page based on the type of exemption you are requesting, or contact your local Licensing office to request the correct form.
  2. Complete and return the Exemption Request form to your local Licensing office, along with supporting documentation that your program is exempt from regulation based on law, administrative rule, or both.
  3. Licensing will notify you in writing once they have reviewed and completed the exemption determination, and provide you with an operation number if your exemption request has been approved.
  4. Once you receive exemption approval and your assigned operation number from Licensing, submit Form 2971 Request for Background Check directly to the CBCU at CBCUExemptBGC@dfps.state.tx.us, or by fax at (512) 339-5871.

The CBCU will process the background check request and provide the results to the Exempt Operation’s point of contact.

Residential Child Care Operations

1. Who is required to have a fingerprint-based FBI check in a general residential operation and when does it have to be completed?

General residential operations must request fingerprint checks on:

  • Prospective employees prior to employment,
  • Frequent or regular visitors to an operation who have lived in another state in the last five years or there is reason to suspect criminal history exists in another state, and
  • Individuals who are not clients (including children) who are 14 years or older and meet the following conditions:
    • Counted in the child-caregiver ratio,
    • Have unsupervised access to children in care, or
    • Reside in a general residential operation.

Foster and Adoptive Homes

1. Who is required to have a fingerprint-based FBI check in a foster or adoptive home and when does it have to be completed?

You must complete fingerprint-based checks prior to verification or approval of the home for both:

  • Prospective foster or adoptive parents, and
  • Persons 14 years or older who reside in a prospective foster or adoptive home.
2. Who is required to have an Out-of-State Abuse/Neglect History check in a foster or adoptive home and how do I retrieve this history?

Child-placing agencies or independent foster homes must complete an out-of-state abuse/neglect history check for foster or adoptive parent applicants and any other adult living in the foster or adoptive parent's home if the individual has lived outside of Texas any time during the previous five years. See Obtaining a Child Abuse Central Registry Check in Each State for information on how to obtain this information from another state.

If a state that maintains a child abuse and neglect registry does not comply with requests for information from another state, the licensed child-placing agency should notify its Licensing representative so that state office can bring this to the attention of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) regional office for Texas.

3. If one of my foster or adoptive applicants had an FBI fingerprint check processed when they were certified as a teacher (or nurse, police officer, etc.) does this person need a new FBI fingerprint check as part of the verification or approval process?

Yes. Prospective foster or adoptive parents must be fingerprinted for DFPS as part of the verification or approval process.  However, the person may not need to be fingerprinted again if:

  • The person has previously submitted their fingerprints for an FBI check through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the date of fingerprinting is not more than 24 months old, or
  • The person has previously submitted their fingerprints for an FBI check through DFPS, and has completed a name-based background check (DPS criminal history and DFPS Central Registry checks) at least every 24 months since being fingerprinted.

See Fingerprinting FAQs for more information regarding previously submitted fingerprints.

4. Which foster home visitors are NOT required to have a background check?

DFPS does not require all visitors to a foster home to submit their names for a background check. Keeping in mind the need for children to be in a normal, family-based setting, Child Care Licensing does not require background checks on frequent child visitors (aged 14-17) to the home unless:

  • The child is responsible for caring for the children (e.g. a babysitter),
  • The child is related to the foster parent, or
  • There is reason to believe the person has a criminal history or a history of abusing or neglecting a child.

Child Care Licensing also does not require background checks for frequent adult visitors to the foster home unless:

  • The adult is related to the foster parent,
  • The adult has unsupervised access to the children, or
  • There is reason to believe the person has a criminal history or a history of abusing or neglecting a child.
5. Can I complete the fingerprint check at the end of the verification or approval process?

As long as the check is complete before you verify or approve the home, you can require them at any time before the verification or approval process is completed.

Last updated: October 5, 2017