The Care Provider Management Bureau has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding the background check process. If you have additional questions, please contact Guardian@dss.ca.gov.
Who needs to be fingerprinted?
State laws require that all community care license applicants and adults who work and/or reside in licensed community care facilities or home care organizations need to be fingerprinted. In addition, all Home Care Aide and TrustLine applicants, whether independent or affiliated to a Home Care Organization or TrustLine agency, must be fingerprinted.
How do I get a fingerprint clearance?
To begin the process to obtain a criminal background check clearance, you must fulfill the two requirements below:
First, you must complete a Criminal Record Statement (LIC 508) form that the agency can provide or can be found by visiting the Forms and Brochures page of the Department of Social Services Website. On the form you must truthfully provide the history of any criminal record you have by selecting yes or no to the questions asked. Please provide that form to the agency for record keeping.
If you choose to use Guardian, you may initiate an application for an agency. To do so, please obtain the Applicant Instruction Form from your prospective agency and visit the Guardian Applicant Portal to Register as a New User.
Next, you must submit your fingerprints to the California Department of Justice via a Live Scan site. If you are not using Guardian, please obtain a Live Scan form from your agency to complete this requirement. If you choose to use Guardian, once you have completed your application and the agency has resumed your application, a pre-populated Live Scan form will be available for generation in the Applicant and Agency portals in Guardian.
How do I submit my fingerprints?
You may contact your local licensing office to locate the nearest Live Scan (electronic) fingerprint site or visit the Office of Attorney General website for a list of open Live Scan locations. You must make an appointment and go to the site to submit your fingerprints. Note: Live Scan is an electronic fingerprinting service provided by companies and Live Scan is operated separately (independently from) from the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Justice (DOJ).
Your fingerprints are electronically forwarded to the DOJ and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine if you have any reportable arrests or convictions. If you will be working/residing in a children’s facility, your name and your identifying information also will be checked against the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).
What is a fingerprint reject?
The California Department of Justice (DOJ) will reject fingerprints that may be smudged or unable to be read. The DOJ will send a notice to the licensee that the applicant requesting association to their facility has a fingerprint reject. The licensee must give the notice to the applicant and the applicant must be re-fingerprinted. Alternatively, the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) will send a notice to the applicant and the agency that Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) fingerprints have been rejected.
The applicant should make an appointment and return to the same Live Scan site to have their fingerprints taken again. If the applicant brings the Live Scan transaction receipt and the fingerprint reject notice to the Live Scan site, the applicant will not be charged for the reprint. Make sure the reprint submission has the same ATI (or TCN) number that was used on the original fingerprint submission or the DOJ will not understand that the applicant is being reprinted due to a reject of the first fingerprint submission. The ATI (or TCN) number can be found in Section 8 of the original Request for Live Scan Service form (LIC 9163, LIC 9163B).
What happens if I have no criminal history?
You will receive a notice from the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) that you have no criminal history and are cleared to work. This clearance letter will cover the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), if applicable. This is known as a criminal record clearance. You will also receive a notice from DOJ, if you have no criminal history with the DOJ. This DOJ notice does not allow you to begin working, you must wait until you receive the CPMB clearance letter. If you are using Guardian and are opted-into electronic notifications, you will receive this letter in your Guardian Applicant Portal.
Can I start working as soon as I receive a clearance notice form DOJ?
If you have no criminal history with the DOJ, you will receive a notice. This DOJ notice does not allow you to begin working, you must wait to work and/or reside in licensed community care facilities or home care organizations until you receive the CPMB clearance letter.
I did not get a delay notice from DOJ, but 30 days have passed. I have a criminal history. What should I do?
Check with your potential agency to see if they have received an exemption needed notification either in Guardian or by mail from the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) stating that a criminal record exemption is needed. The agency may also check with the local licensing office to determine if Guardian has a status of your background check.
When you submit your fingerprints and you have a criminal history, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) will send your record, commonly called a “RAP sheet,” to the California Department of Social Services. CPMB will send a letter or electronic notification to the agency where you have applied for association, to inform them that a criminal record exemption is required.
You will also be sent a similar letter, provided your address on record is correct. If the agency agrees to request an exemption on your behalf, you must submit the required documents outlined in the exemption needed letter to CPMB. You can send the requested information to Care Provider Management Bureau, 744 P Street, M.S. T9-15-62, Sacramento CA, 95814, fax to 916-754-4589 or email your documents to Guardian@dss.ca.gov. If you choose to use Guardian, you can directly upload the documents to your Applicant Portal and CPMB will receive them instantly. You cannot work, reside, or volunteer at the agency or provide services unless you receive an exemption. If the agency chooses not to request an exemption for you to work, reside, or volunteer in their agency, you may apply for an exemption on your own behalf.
What is an exemption?
Before an individual can obtain a community care license, or provide services, work or reside in an agency, he/she must receive a criminal record clearance from the California Department of Justice or the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB). An individual convicted of any crime is disqualified unless CPMB grants a criminal record exemption (exemption) from disqualification. An exemption is a California Department of Social Services authorized written document that "exempts" the individual from the requirement of having a criminal record clearance. All convictions other than minor traffic violations require an exemption, including misdemeanors, felonies and convictions that have been dismissed per 1203.4 PC or convictions that occurred a long time ago. CPMB also has the authority and responsibility to investigate arrests to determine if the underlying conduct is substantiated and therefore presents a risk to the health and safety of clients who are in care. CPMB may grant an exemption if the individual’s criminal history meets all the criteria specified in the regulations and he/she submits substantial and convincing evidence of good character and rehabilitation. However, individuals convicted of serious crimes such as robbery, sexual battery, child abuse, elder or dependent adult abuse, rape, arson or kidnapping are not eligible for an exemption.
I received a letter that says an exemption is needed. What do I need to submit for an exemption?
A complete exemption package must be sent to the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) within 45 days from the date of the exemption needed notification letter. You can send the requested information to Care Provider Management Bureau 744 P Street, M.S. T9-15-62, Sacramento CA, 95814, fax to 916-754-4589 or email your documents to Guardian@dss.ca.gov. You may also choose to use Guardian to directly upload your documents to CPMB electronically. CPMB will examine your record and history to determine if you are eligible for an exemption to work, reside, or volunteer in a facility or provide services. You will receive an exemption only if you can show that you are sufficiently rehabilitated and that you are no longer involved in criminal activity.
To begin the exemption process, you must submit the following materials to CPMB within the specified timeframe. Seeking an exemption is a lengthy process and the more complete your packet to CPMB, the faster the process will be.
- A written statement/explanation detailing approximate dates and events leading up to the arrest(s) that resulted in the conviction(s)/arrest(s) which are identified below. Also, state what has been done since the conviction(s) to ensure you do not have involvement in any criminal activity again. Please provide proof of training, classes, courses, treatment, counseling, etc. that have been completed.
Proof of completion or status of court ordered requirements. These documents can be provided by the court upon request.
Three (3) signed character reference statements. Reference statements must be on the enclosed Reference Request Form LIC 301E. Additional copies may be obtained at www.ccld.ca.gov. Reference statements must be current, cannot be from relatives or family members and cannot be from someone who works at the agency.
How long do I have to wait for my exemption request to be processed?
The Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) is required to review all of the information requested in the exemption package. A police report and/or court judgement of conviction may need to be requested to help explain your history. Your file cannot proceed until the records are received. If the court or police do not send the records, CPMB must continue to request them until a response from the law enforcement agency is received. You can expedite your exemption request by providing as much information as possible when you submit your original package to CPMB. If you obtain any records from the court or police, submit them to CPMB as soon as possible. Copies of any records you have may help expedite the CPMB’s decision on your exemption request. NOTE: It may take up to 75 days from the date your completed exemption request is received for a decision to be made.
What if my exemption request is denied?
You will receive a letter from the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) informing you that your exemption request has been denied. If you decide to appeal CPMB’s decision, you must submit a written request within 15 days from the date of the denial letter. You may choose to mail the appeal request or you can upload your appeal request to Guardian. Your case will then be reviewed by CPMB staff for reconsideration and if the appeal is applicable, the case will be forwarded to the legal department at the California Department of Social Services. The appeal process is lengthy and may take up to one year for a final decision. NOTE: If your exemption request is denied and you do not appeal CPMB’s decision, you will not be eligible to fingerprint to work, reside, or volunteer for a facility for a period of two years from the date of the denial letter.
What is a non-exemptible crime?
The Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) is prohibited by law from granting exemptions to individuals convicted of certain crimes (non-exemptible crimes). Currently, there are 60 non-exemptible crimes, including murder, rape, torture, kidnapping and crimes requiring sex offender registration.. Additional non-exemptible crimes apply to prospective foster and adoptive parents, certified family homes, and Resource Family Homes. If an individual is convicted of a non-exemptible crime, that individual cannot work, reside, or be present in any licensed facility or for a home care organization. An individual’s application will be denied, or the license revoked, based on the conviction of a non-exemptible crime. CPMB also has the authority and responsibility to investigate arrests for non-exemptible crimes to determine if the underlying conduct is substantiated and therefore presents a risk to the health and safety of clients who are in care.
I submitted fingerprints and have not received any response. I do not have any criminal record. How long should I wait?
After 15 days, it is recommended that you ask the agency to check your status in Guardian. If the agency does not use Guardian, you can ask them to contact their local licensing office to check the status of your fingerprints. If the local licensing office is unable to determine the status of your fingerprint submission, the licensing office should contact the Care Provider Management Bureau.
I have an exemption and I want to start working in another agency. Should I fingerprint again? How do I transfer my exemption from where I currently work to the new agency?
Another set of fingerprints is not needed if you are transferring your exemption or clearance to an agency that requires the same set of fingerprints that you previously submitted. Once granted, an exemption or clearance can be transferred from one licensed community care agency to another, if certain conditions are met and if you have not been convicted of any new crimes. If you have printed and have an exemption or clearance for an agency that requires a Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) check, then you can transfer to any agency. If you have printed and have an exemption or clearance for an agency that does not require a CACI check, in order to transfer to an agency that does require a CACI check, you will need to submit a new set of fingerprints.
To begin the transfer process, ask the agency to which you are transferring to submit a completed Criminal Record Exemption Transfer Request form (LIC 9188). The form must be signed by the new licensee, administrator or manager. The form should be sent to Care Provider Management Bureau, 744 P Street, M.S. T9-15-62, Sacramento CA, 95814, fax to 916-754-4589 or email to Guardian@dss.ca.gov. CPMB will review the previous exemption file and make a decision on the exemption transfer request. If approved, the exemption transfer to the new agency will be processed. CPMB will update Guardian to show your association to the new agency.
If the agency uses Guardian and you have no new criminal history, your transfer to the new agency can be processed in real time and there is no need for the local licensing office or CPMB to intervene. It is highly recommended for the agency to use Guardian to process transfers and manage their roster.
I had an exemption before, but it isn’t active. Do I need to start over?
If you have not been active and working for a period of three years, your exemption cannot be transferred and will be required to fingerprint for the agency you are seeking association to. Once your fingerprint results are received at the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB), your previous exemption determination will be reviewed to determine if you are eligible to have your exemption reactivated, provided your record does not indicate any new convictions since your last exemption was granted. If eligible for an exemption reactivation, you will not be required to go through the exemption process. However, you may be required to provide some additional information. CPMB will make a decision based on the information it has received and its review of the previous exemption determination. If the exemption reactivation is approved, CPMB will notify you and the agency of its decision in writing.
What is CACI?
The Child Abuse Central Index is a California database of information related to substantiated cases of child abuse. It is a State law to check the database prior to issuing a license to care for children or approving an individual to work, reside or volunteer in a childcare agency or to be registered on the TrustLine registry.
What is Adam Walsh?
The Adam Walsh Act is a Federal Law that requires enhanced background check procedures on Foster Care Programs prior to licensure or certification. The enhanced background check includes, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Applicants must complete Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history check in addition to the California Department of Justice criminal history check.
- Applicants, and all adults living in the home, who have identified other states they have lived in within the preceding five years will complete an out-of-state child abuse and neglect registry check.
It should be noted that the Federal background check requirements for foster and adoptive parents include additional non-exemptible crimes and crimes for which the California Department of Social Services cannot grant an exemption if the applicant was convicted of those crimes within the last five years.
I was granted a conditional exemption, how do I request to remove the condition?
If you wish to request a removal of your condition, you will need to contact the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) and provide a written request to remove your condition. You can request this removal through an email sent to Guardian@dss.ca.gov, a fax to 916-754-4589 or mailed to Care Provider Management Bureau, 744 P Street, M.S. T9-15-62, Sacramento CA, 95814. If you use Guardian, you can also upload this request for electronic submission to CPMB.
In your request please state why you think your condition should be removed, as well as provide evidence of rehabilitation that would support the removal of your condition. If CPMB decides to remove your condition, you will receive an Exemption Approval letter either via U.S. Mail to the address CPMB has on file, or through your Guardian applicant portal if you have an account. If the request has not been granted, you will then receive a letter stating so via U.S. Mail, this letter will not be available in your Guardian portal if you have one.
Can I transfer with my condition on my exemption?
Your conditional exemption cannot be transferred without review from the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB). If your agency is using Guardian, or if they submit the Criminal Record Exemption Transfer Request form (LIC 9188) to CPMB, the transfer (connection) to the new agency will not be automatic and CPMB will review your transfer request for eligibility. If the transfer can be granted, you will receive a letter stating so. If your transfer cannot be processed due to the condition that has been placed on your exemption, you will also be notified via letter.
If I am denied an exemption and I choose to not appeal that decision, what happens?
If you are denied an exemption and you choose to not appeal the decision, the denial decision is final and you will be excluded from Community Care Licensed Agencies for a period of two years. This includes working at or residing in an agency licensed by the Department of Social Services. If you wish to try and reinstate your eligibility after one year, please refer to the Petition for Reinstatement/Reduction in Penalty Frequently Asked Question.
What is an agency defined as?
The term "agencies" is inclusive of all Community Care licensed facilities, Foster Family Agencies, Home Care Organizations and TrustLine agencies.
What are the terms of my exemption/exemption transfer?
An exemption remains valid provided you have no new criminal history and you follow all licensing laws and regulations. If you fail to abide by these terms, the Care Provider Management Bureau can take further action that will prohibit you from retaining your background clearance or exemption and you may not be able to work or be present in an agency licensed by the Department or hold an eligible status on the Home Care Aide and TrustLine Registries.
How do I apply for the Home Care Aide Registry if I don’t want to use Guardian?
If you choose not to use Guardian to apply for the Home Care Aide Registry, please send in the manual Home Care Aide Registration Application (HCS 100), along with a check or money order made payable to the Department of Social Services, at Home Care Services Bureau, 744 P Street, M.S. 9-14-90, Sacramento, CA 95814.Once your application, payment and fingerprints are received you will be notified of your background and registry status. If an exemption is needed, you will be sent a notice informing you of the next steps.
How do I apply for the TrustLine Registry if I don’t want to use Guardian?
If you choose not to use Guardian and want to apply for the TrustLine Registry, please complete the TLR 9163 G. Once your application, payment and fingerprints are received you will be notified of your background and registry status. If an exemption is needed, you will be sent a notice informing you of the next steps.
I received a Notice of Investigation letter and want to withdrawal my TrustLine application so my history isn’t investigated, where can I find the TrustLine withdrawal form?
Please contact the Care Provider Management Bureau (CPMB) via mail to 744 P Street, M.S. T9-15-62, Sacramento CA, 95814, fax to 916-754-4589 or email to Guardian@dss.ca.gov to request a copy of this form. If you are using Guardian, you may submit the form to your portal. If you choose not to use Guardian, please mail, fax or email the form back to CPMB.
I have a condition on my exemption, can I transfer to the TrustLine Registry?
Exemptions with conditions cannot be transferred to the TrustLine registry. If you have a condition placed on your exemption and you wish to apply to the TrustLine Registry, please request a removal of your condition. Please see the Frequently Asked Question on how to remove a condition.
Can Licensee Applicants apply for licensure in Guardian?
In order to apply for a community care license, please contact your local licensing office to assist.
Does using Guardian replace the fingerprint fee at Live Scan?
Using Guardian does not replace the Live Scan process or the fingerprint fees. Guardian will generate a pre-populated Live Scan form after an application has been completed, to assist with the accuracy of information received.
What is a Petition for Reinstatement or Request for a Reduction in Penalty?
A Petition for Reinstatement or request for a Reduction in Penalty is a process that allows an excluded individual the right to request a reinstatement of their eligibility to work in a Community Care Licensed Facility or be registered on the Home Care Aide or TrustLine Registries. An excluded individual may submit a Petition for Reinstatement or request a Reduction in Penalty after one year has elapsed from the date of the notification of the exclusion order (exemption denial, non-exemptible denial), or one year after the effective date of the Department’s adoption of the decision and order upholding the exclusion order.
What is an excluded individual?
An excluded individual is an individual who has been previously denied an exemption and the right to work or be present in a Community Care Licensed Facility or be registered on the Home Care Aide and TrustLine Registries. The individual’s exclusion to work, be present, or registered may have been the result of their criminal history information or an action that was taken by another Department.
How can I request to start a Petition for Reinstatement or request a Reduction in Penalty?
You can request a Petition for Reinstatement or Reduction in Penalty in one of two ways:
- Send a written request and supporting documentation to Care Provider Management Bureau at 744 P Street, M.S. T9-15-62, Sacramento, California, 95814 or,
- Send a written request and supporting documentation to Care Provider Management Bureau at RegistryResearch@dss.ca.gov.
What will I need to submit for a Petition for Reinstatement or Reduction on Penalty?
A request for a Petition for Reinstatement should include information which will alter the basis of the Department’s previous decision. Some examples of supporting documentation are as follows:
- Evidence of activities you have done since your exclusion which demonstrate rehabilitation and good character
- Employment history, progress reports, and/or performance evaluations
- Verification of completion (certificates) of any training, classes, courses, treatment, and/or counseling
- Current letters of reference
- Evidence of whether or not the underlying reasons for your exclusion have been corrected or are no longer in existence
You may submit any and all of these types of documentation to demonstrate your rehabilitation and good character.
What do I need to do if my Petition for Reinstatement or Reduction in Penalty is granted?
If your Petition of Reinstatement is granted and you have not already submitted Live Scan fingerprints for an agency, you will need to find an agency to work for and submit fingerprints. Once your fingerprint results are received, you will go through the background check process where you may be granted a clearance or be notified of the need for an exemption.
If you have already submitted Live Scan fingerprints for an agency, you will receive an acknowledgement of your submission for your Petition for Reinstatement or Reduction in Penalty and your case will move through the background check process where you may be granted a clearance or be notified of the need for an exemption.