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7000 Background Check Procedures

VCE September 2019

Procedures for submitting a volunteer’s background check are as follows:

  •  The volunteer authorizes the background check by completing and signing Form 0250 Volunteer Application.

  •  The volunteer must include all alias names on the volunteer application to ensure a complete and thorough background check is processed.

• Failure to properly complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application delays the results of the volunteer’s background check.

• The Community Engagement (CE) specialist enters the applicant’s information through the Automated Background Check System (ABCS).

• Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE) staff submit and review background check information for State Office programs.

• Background Checks staff return results within three business days.

Volunteers, including interns, who require a background check may not begin working with DFPS until the background check has been completed and satisfactory results are returned. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Allow adequate time (two weeks) for the background check to be completed.

Background check results are returned directly to the CE staff. This ensures the confidentiality of each and every volunteer’s results.

7100 Background Check Results

7110 Criminal Background Check Results

VCE September 2019

DFPS volunteer policy prohibits placing persons with certain criminal offense convictions in contact with clients or giving them access to confidential information. Background Checks staff evaluates criminal history or offenses for a potential volunteer and makes a determination of whether a volunteer is cleared or not cleared to volunteer with DFPS. In the DFPS Background Checks Handbook see Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Employees, Volunteers, Interns, Prospective Employees, and Non-DFPS Staff for offenses that would bar a person from becoming a DFPS volunteer.

If Background Checks staff determine the person is barred from becoming a DFPS volunteer, and the person does not have another active background check in progress for volunteering with another population, then Background Checks staff will close the volunteer’s Staff Detail page in IMPACT.

Background Checks staff send results of the criminal history background check to the appropriate CE Specialist. The CE Specialist stores background check information in the volunteer’s file in a secure, locked filing cabinet and communicates the decision to the volunteer.

See 7130 Barred Background Check.

7120 Abuse and Neglect Background Check Results

VCE September 2019

Volunteers with DFPS case history may be ineligible for placements requiring contact with clients or confidential client information. Background Checks staff does a risk assessment before making a decision to clear or bar the person, under the following circumstances:

  •  If the person has one or more criminal convictions and either of the following applies:

  •  One or more of the person’s offenses is identified as a contraindication in the DFPS Background Checks Handbook's Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Employees, Volunteers, Interns, Prospective Employees, and Non-DFPS Staff.

  •  The person has a pattern of criminal history that may put DFPS clients or resources at risk.

  •  If the person’s role is Undetermined (UD) in any investigation in the IMPACT computer system that has any of the following dispositions:

  •  Reason to Believe (RTB)

  •  Confirmed (CON)

  •  Validated (VAL)

  •  Unable to Determine (UTD)

  •  Incomplete (INC) 

Background Checks staff may consult with the DFPS Legal division before approving or denying the decision to clear or bar the person, when applicable. After Legal approves the decision, Background Checks staff notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member that the person is either cleared or barred from volunteering or interning with DFPS.

The person may not volunteer or intern with DFPS until both of the following occur:

  •  The risk assessment is complete.

  •  Background Checks staff clears the person.

7121 Volunteers with Barrable DFPS History

VCE September 2019

Background Checks staff notify the Community Engagement Specialist that the person is barred from being a volunteer or intern when the person has the following DFPS history:

  •  Abuse or neglect history where the person is listed as the designated perpetrator (DP), sustained perpetrator (SP), or undetermined (UD) in any investigation listed in IMPACT with a disposition of Reason to Believe (RTB), Confirmed (CON), or Validated (VAL).

  •  Abuse or neglect history where the person is listed as the alleged perpetrator (AP) in an open investigation.  

If Background Checks staff determine the person is barred from volunteering with DFPS, Background Checks staff close the Staff Detail page in IMPACT.

7122 Volunteers with Cleared DFPS Case History

VCE September 2019

If a volunteer has previous DFPS case history, but their role in the case does not bar them from volunteering, the Community Engagement Specialist receives this information from Background Checks and submits an eMAC requesting that the volunteer’s DFPS case history be marked as sensitive in IMPACT.

7123 Volunteers with Active DFPS Cases

VCE September 2019

When Statewide Intake (SWI) receives a new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that involves a person who is a volunteer, SWI notifies:

  •  The Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement.

  •  The Background Checks program.

Volunteer applicants who have an open case with DFPS will not be considered for placement until the investigation is complete.

If a DFPS intake is received while a volunteer is active, the CE specialist notifies the volunteer and submits an eMAC to withdraw the person from any DFPS activity and volunteer service until the investigation is complete.

Unless the allegations are ruled out, the volunteer may not return as a DFPS volunteer. If the CE specialist chooses to pursue using the volunteer or intern, and the investigation closes with a ruled out disposition, the CE specialist must submit a new background check in Automated Background Check System (ABCS) in order to reinstate the volunteer or intern.

If the background check resulted in either an Incomplete (INC) or Unable to Determine (UTD) disposition, Background Checks staff may perform a risk assessment. See 7120 Abuse and Neglect Background Check Results.

7130 Barred Background Checks

VCE September 2019

When Background Checks (BC) staff process a background check on a volunteer and it comes back with a bar, BC staff send the background check results to the appropriate CE specialist. BC staff close the Staff Detail page in IMPACT, unless the subject has another active background check in progress for volunteering with another population.

The CE specialist must never forward the background check results directly to the applicant. The CE specialist explains to the volunteer applicant why he or she was barred. This is done through personal contact rather than in writing if possible. In certain circumstances, the regional or district director may want to handle the conversation.

The same procedure applies for volunteer applicants applying as part of a group (such as a board member or church group). The group coordinator may only be notified of who has or has not cleared a check. The group coordinator does not have privilege to the confidential information surrounding the decision.

7200 Background Check Restrictions and Exceptions

VCE September 2019

In order to perform a DFPS background check with reliable results, a Social Security Number (SSN) and Texas residency of at least two years is required. The following general rules apply:

  •  Volunteers without SSNs may not be considered for placements requiring background checks. In some cases an alternative form of identification may be sufficient. Contact OVCE to discuss.

  •  It is possible to perform FBI Fingerprint checks on out-of-state volunteers; however, the volunteer is required to pay for the FBI Fingerprint check. When an FBI Fingerprint check is required, the Community Engagement specialist submits the background check request and includes an FBI Fingerprint check through ABCS. The results of the background check request are processed by Background Checks staff.

  •  As a rule, out-of-country volunteers are not placed as DFPS volunteers, however in some instances a volunteer may submit a background clearance from his or her country of citizenship. Consult with OVCE first for evaluation.

7210 Background Checks for Employees of Donating Vendors

VCE September 2019

Local wholesalers or retailers often donate a service or product to a client-attended activity that requires the attendance of one of their employees. For example, a beverage distributor may agree to supply a party for foster children with soft drinks, a vending station, and an operator. Policy requires that background checks be performed on anyone in attendance in order to protect DFPS clients.

In these instances, the employee does not intend to become a DFPS volunteer. To facilitate donor participation and conserve staff resources while protecting DFPS clients, the following procedures must be used when clearing a donating vendor’s employee for event participation:

  •  The assigned employee and one alternative employee complete the basic Form 0250 Volunteer Application.

  •  Both employees attach a copy of their current driver license to the completed Form 0250 Volunteer Application.

  •  The CE specialist notes on the front of Form 0250 Volunteer Application that this background check is being processed under policy for donating vendors, and indicates the event and date for which the check is valid. This information is critical to the process.

  •  The CE specialist enters the information through the Automated Background Check System (ABCS).

  •  This process must be repeated for the donating vendor’s employees for each subsequent event.

  •  CE specialist marks the donating vendor’s employees as “inactive” in the ABCS once the event has ended.

7300 Background Checks for County Appointed Child Welfare Boards (CWBs)

VCE September 2019

Child Welfare Board (CWB) members are appointed by the Commissioner’s Court and are not considered DFPS volunteers when acting in their official capacity.

However, there are occasions when CWB members are privy to confidential information about a particular case. Therefore, the CE specialist asks new members to complete a volunteer packet and authorize a volunteer background check.

Members choosing not to authorize a background check are not allowed to participate in any DFPS volunteer activities and are not permitted to have access to confidential and sensitive information.

Any additional questions regarding partnerships with CWBs should be directed to the regional or district DFPS staff.

7400 Background Checks for Adult Protective Services Boards

VCE September 2019

Adult Protective Services (APS) volunteer community boards provide additional assistance to APS staff and clients in the community. The nature of their work provides opportunities for board members to come in contact with sensitive case-specific information, or have indirect contact with an APS client. In order to protect the confidentiality of APS clients, potential board members must complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application check before joining a community board.

7500 Confidential and Sensitive Information

VCE September 2019

All volunteers must sign Form 0251 Volunteer Confidentiality Statement.

Volunteers who have completed and cleared a background check may have access to confidential and sensitive information. Volunteers must understand that certain information contained in DFPS files is considered confidential under the law and much of the information is personal in nature. A volunteer’s job responsibilities include the protection of the confidential information and the use of discretion when dealing with it.

Under no circumstances may volunteers access confidential information for any purpose other than to perform their assigned tasks.

Volunteers may only discuss confidential information with DFPS staff or other individuals when it is:

  •  Relevant to the performance of their assigned tasks.

  •  Specifically authorized by DFPS.

If at any time a question or problem arises with regard to the release of any information, volunteers must consult with the CE specialist or volunteer supervisor.

7600 Self Reporting Requirements for Volunteers and Interns

VCE September 2019

A volunteer or intern is required to notify the CE specialist, within five business days, of any new arrest by any federal, state, or local agency or board. 

The CE specialist determines if the volunteer or intern must be denied access to DFPS resources pending the final disposition of the arrest, and informs Background Checks staff of the decision.

The CE specialist enters a new background check request in the Automated Background Check System (ABCS) 30 days after the arrest date for the person and Background Checks staff assess the new background check request according to the Background Checks policy.

7700 Contesting Criminal History Results

VCE September 2019

If a volunteer or intern notifies the CE specialists that the criminal history provided from either the DPS or the FBI does not belong to him or her, the person may email the AskBC mailbox and request information for formally contesting the criminal history information.

The subject of a background check or the CE specialist may also request, on behalf of a volunteer or intern, a review of Background Checks’ decision to deny access. In the DFPS Background Checks Handbook, see 1320 Reviewing Background Check Decisions.

7800 Driver Record Checks for Transportation Volunteers

VCE September 2019

Volunteers assisting with transportation must receive a driver record check clearance before assisting with transportation. See 5920 Driver Record Checks for how to request a driver record check and the driver record requirements.

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