Tribal Background Check Resources and Information

The purpose of this webpage is to provide resources and information to federally recognized tribes regarding criminal background checks for prospective Tribally Approved Homes (TAHs) as a result of Senate Bill (SB) 1460 (Chapter 772 Statutes of 2014) and Assembly Bill (AB) 403 (Chapter 773, Statutes of 2015).  SB 1460 amended Penal Code sections 11105 and 11170(a) and specifically added Penal Code section 11105.08 and Welfare and Institutions Code section 10553.12, giving federally recognized tribes and tribal agencies the ability to receive both state and federal summary criminal history and the authority to conduct their own background checks, including criminal and child abuse background checks of all affected individuals, for prospective TAHs.  It also gave federally recognized tribes and tribal agencies the authority to evaluate and grant exemption requests.  Once a tribe/tribal agency is approved access by the California Department of Justice (CDOJ), a tribe or tribal agency may request from CDOJ state and federal level summary criminal history information for the purpose of approving a tribal home for the placement of an Indian child into foster or adoptive care.

Prior to the passage of SB 1460 and AB 403, tribes were able to assess and approve homes for placement of an identified child, but had to rely on the county child welfare agencies to complete the criminal background check component prior to placement of the child. This legislation enables federally recognized tribes to recruit and build a pool of foster and adoptive homes for Indian children by allowing them to complete both the home assessment and background checks for their tribal families. 

The following tribes have been approved by the CDOJ, as of March 19, 2020:

  1. Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
  2. Morongo Band of Mission Indians
  3. North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
  4. Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
  5. Pala Band of Mission Indians
  6. Tule River Indian Tribe
  7. Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians
  8. Big Lagoon Rancheria
  9. Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians
  10. Enterprise Rancheria, Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe
  11. Indian Child and Family Preservation Program
    • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
    • Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians
    • Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria
    • Lytton Band of Pomo Indians of the Lytton Rancheria
    • Manchester/Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians
  12. Hopland Band of Pomo Indians
  13. Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Community and Family Services
  14. Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians
  15. Redding Rancheria
  16. Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
  17. Karuk Tribe
  18. Yurok Tribe

Federally recognized tribes interested in completing their own criminal background checks are required to complete the Application for Authorization Pursuant to Penal Code Section 11105.08 application packet found on CDOJ's Forms for Applicant Agencies web page.  The link can be found under Authorization Request Packet(s), titled "Federally Recognized Tribes/Designated Agencies."  The application packet must be submitted to CDOJ.  If there are any questions related to the application process, CDOJ is available to answer all questions at AuthorizationQuestions@doj.ca.gov.

Funding for Live Scan Fingerprinting

Funds are available to tribes and tribal agencies for costs associated with electronic fingerprinting, e.g. live scan machine and live scan fees. Each Fiscal Year, CDSS proposes an ongoing budget for the funding of live scan machines and fingerprinting costs for federally recognized tribes. Pending the final approval of the proposed budget each year, these funds are available to tribes and tribal agencies. If available funds are exhausted in the current fiscal year, requests for an advance or reimbursement may be delayed to the next fiscal year. Tribes and tribal agencies can request either an advance or a reimbursement of costs as described below:

Live Scan Machines
Should a federally recognized tribe approved by the CDOJ to conduct their own criminal background checks wish to purchase a live scan machine, the tribe may be reimbursed for their expenses by CDSS.  To request an advance payment to purchase a live scan machine, the tribe or tribal agency should complete the Request for Advance Payment for Live Scan Machine and STD 204 Payee Data Record forms.

Tribes and tribal agencies that have already purchased a live scan machine may request a reimbursement by completing the SB 1460 Live Scan Machine Reimbursement Request and STD 204 Payee Data Record forms.  If an advance has been received by the tribe or tribal agency, the requested reimbursement amount must include any advances received.  The forms contain instructions for the submission process.

Live Scan Fingerprinting Fees
Tribes and tribal agencies may request either an advance or a reimbursement of live scan fingerprinting fees by completing the Request for Live Scan Fees and STD 204 Payee Data Record  forms.  The Request for Live Scan Fees form can be used to request either an advance or reimbursement of live scan fees.   

All requests should be mailed to:

California Department of Social Services
Child and Youth Permanency Branch
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Sacramento, CA 95814

Optional Letters for Tribes Conducting Their Own Background Checks

A tribe or tribal agency must provide the county child welfare agency or probation department with written documentation, which includes a date and signature, stating that the home has been approved by the tribe/tribal agency.  The following are optional forms that tribes and tribal agencies are not required to use:

Optional Letters for Counties/CDSS Conducting Background Checks on Behalf of Tribal Homes

The following are optional forms that counties and tribes/tribal agencies are not required to use:

Contact Us

Child and Youth Permanency Branch
Foster Caregiver Policy & Support Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-7465

Resources