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 December 19, 2023:

  1. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians 
  2. Big Lagoon Rancheria
  3. Big Sandy Rancheria Band of Western Mono Indians of California
  4. Bishop Paiute Tribe Social Services
  5. Blue Lake Tribal Gaming Commission
  6. Cabazon Band Mission Indians
  7. Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
  8. Cahuilla Band of Indians
  9. Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  10. Enterprise Rancheria, Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe
  11. Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians
  12. Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
  13. Hoopa Valley Tribe – Human Resource Program
  14. Hopland Band of Pomo Indians
  15. Indian Child and Family Preservation Program
    • Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians
    • 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
    • Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
  16. Karuk Tribe
  17. Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria
  18. Morongo Band of Mission Indians
  19. North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
  20. Pala Band of Mission Indians
  21. Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians
  22. Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians
  23. Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians
  24. Pit River Tribe
  25. Redding Rancheria
  26. Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi-Yokut Tribe Social Services Department
  27. Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
  28. Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Community and Family Services
  29. Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
  30. Tule River Indian Tribe
  31. Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
  32. Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Nation
  33. 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

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
Family Permanency and Support Services Branch
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Attn: Charm Lee
Sacramento, CA 95814

Requests may also be submitted via email to:

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

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