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7240 Checking Criminal Records and Abuse/Neglect History

CPS September 2005

Before an individual can become a foster or adoptive parent, an applicant must provide information so that DFPS can check the criminal history and IMPACT abuse and neglect history on all persons 14 years of age or older who live in the applicants home.

Legal References

The policy for conducting criminal history and IMPACT history checks is based on the following legal references:

Texas Human Resources Code, §§40.054 and 42.056

Texas Government Code, §411.114

Texas Administrative Code (DFPS Rules), §§700.1502, 700.518, and Chapter 745 Subchapter F

7241 Criminal History Checks

CPS September 2005

When processing foster and adoptive home applications, the FAD worker must request criminal history information from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) through IMPACT. Criminal history checks must be completed on each person living in the home who is 14 years of age or older and is not in the conservatorship of DFPS.

Written Statements. Every foster or adoptive parent applicant, any employee, or any other person living in the applicants home who is 14 years of age or older and not in the conservatorship of DFPS must submit Form 4054-CPS to DFPS. This form provides information about all of the individuals:

  •  felony and misdemeanor convictions, if any; and

  •  pending criminal charges, if any.

DPS Records Check. The worker generates the DPS criminal request through the Records Check page in IMPACT as described in 1800 Record Checks and its sub-items.

The only criminal history check that is performed by Child Care Licensing is the FBI fingerprint check. No other requests for criminal history checks are to be sent to Child Care Licensing.

Local Law Enforcement Records Check. The FAD worker may also request criminal history information from local law enforcement agencies. These records checks are requested manually and are documented on the IMPACT Records Check page.

FBI Records Check. If an applicant or other adult household member has not lived continuously in Texas for three years before applying, the FAD worker must also request criminal history information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). To inquire into FBI files, the FAD worker must perform the following steps:

  •  Provide the applicant with an FBI fingerprint card that has blue lines and that has the following printed in the ORI box:

TX920360Z

TX DEPT PROTECT/REG

AUSTIN, TX

      Appropriate stocks of blue line FBI fingerprint cards (Form FD-258) may be obtained through the Form and Publication order sheet for the Supply Ordering System. FAD staff should contact the local supply coordinator to order cards.

  •  Instruct the applicant to:

  •  take the fingerprint card to a law enforcement agency to have the applicants fingerprints recorded;

  •  pay the cost of fingerprinting, if any; and

  •  return the completed fingerprint card to the FAD worker.

  •  Prepare a memorandum that requests an FBI records check and identifies the individual(s) needing the record check. The completed fingerprint cards are to be attached to the memorandum and mailed to DFPS, Child Care Licensing, Mail Code E-550, P.O. Box 149030, Austin, TX 78714-9030.

  •  Document the FBI check on the IMPACT Records Check page.

See 1800 Record Checks and its sub-items for information regarding who is authorized to obtain criminal history information and the penalties for unauthorized use, disclosure, or release of criminal history information. See Appendix 7240, Instructions for Obtaining and Processing FBI Fingerprint Cards, for additional information on how to complete and process fingerprint cards.

7241.1 When a Criminal History Is Found
7241.11 Denial of Application Because of Conviction

CPS September 2005

DFPS must not approve an applicant to be a foster or adoptive parent if the applicant, or any other person in the family household, has a relevant criminal history.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy item, the following terms are defined:

1.  Other person in the family household includes:

  •  any person living in the home full- or part-time who is 14 years of age or older and not in the conservatorship of DFPS;

  •  an employee who works in the home; or

  •  a volunteer who works in the home.

     Other person in the family household does not include:

  •  a child in DFPS conservatorship who lives in the home; or

  •  a child who is in the home only for day care.

2.  Relevant criminal history includes:

  •  a felony conviction of any of the following Texas Penal Code offenses (a list of the offenses for these titles may be found on pages 3 and 4 of Form 4054, CPS Criminal History Statement):

  •  §15.031 (Criminal Solicitation of a Minor) of Title 4

  •  Title 5 (Offenses Against the Person)

  •  Title 6 (Offenses Against the Family)

  •  Chapter 29 (Robbery) of Title 7

  •  §38.17 (Failure to Stop or Report Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child) of Title 8

  •  §42.072 (Stalking) of Title 9

  •  Chapter 43 (Public Indecency) of Title 9; or

  •  a felony conviction of any substantially similar offense under federal law or the laws of another state.

7241.12 Conditions for Approval of Application Despite Conviction

CPS September 2005

Under certain conditions, an applicant may be approved as a foster or adoptive parent even though the applicant, his or her employee, or any other person living in the applicant's household (who is 14 years of age or older and not in the conservatorship of DFPS) has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. These conditions require additional staff approval and include:

  •  a felony conviction that occurred within the last 10 years, providing it did not involve one of the offenses included in number 2 in 7241.11 Denial of Application Because of Conviction above;

  •  a misdemeanor conviction of one of the offenses included in number 2 in 7241.11; and

  •  a conviction involving deferred adjudication if the applicant has not successfully completed probation. (If the prescribed probation has not been successfully completed, the crime cannot have been one of the offenses included in number 2 in 7241.11, above.).

Additional Required Staff Approvals

Applicants with any of the above conditions require staff approvals from:

  •  CPS regional staff, who must determine that the person with the criminal history does not pose a risk to the health and safety of children and then must submit the request for a risk evaluation to:

  •  the assistant commissioner for Child Care Licensing for non-relative applicants, or

  •  the assistant commissioner for CPS, if the applicant or household member is related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the child being considered for foster care or adoptive placement; and

  •  the assistant commissioner for Child Care Licensing (or the assistant commissioner for CPS if appropriate), who must determine that the person with the criminal history does not pose a risk to the health and safety of children.

See:

7243 Risk Evaluations: Determining Their Need / Procedures for Requesting

7241.2 Time Frames for Criminal History Checks

CPS September 2005

In order to be viable, criminal history checks for adoptive parents and household members must not be older than one year when the court orders a criminal history based on a petition filed for adoption. If the criminal history check is more than one year old, a new criminal history check is required. DFPS staff may provide a copy of the criminal history check received from the Texas Department of Public Safety, local law enforcement, or FBI to the court when the court will accept the material in lieu of ordering adoptive parents to provide their own criminal history check to the court.

Criminal history checks for foster parents and household members 14 years of age or older must be updated every two years from the date of the original criminal history check.

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