In 2014, the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which funds the federal share of Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), was updated. In addition to making changes that affect how CCAP operates, the federal law increased health, safety licensing, and background study requirements. The 2017 Minnesota Legislature passed a law that implemented many of the CCDBG requirements. The 2018 Legislature made additional changes to background study requirements for child care.
All background studies include a name and date of birth check of:
Background studies may be expanded to include records from law enforcement, courts, and other agencies in Minnesota and states when information shows other records may be available. Some studies require checks of additional information. For example, to adopt a child or obtain a license to provide child foster care, a fingerprint-based criminal record check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation is included in the background study as well as other requirements.
In most cases, background studies are initiated by the entity (i.e., program, provider, organization, educational program, etc.) with whom the background study subjects are affiliated.
A background study request must be submitted by the entity before a person begins providing direct contact services. For nursing facilities and boarding care homes, a background study must be initiated for all employees.
Direct contact means providing face-to-face care, training, supervision, counseling, consultation, or medication assistance to the people being served by the entity.
PCAs must have a completed background study with a clearance or another status that permits them to provide direct contact services before they provide services billed to Minnesota Health Care Programs. Refer to the Minnesota Health Care Programs Provider Manual.
Most people only need one study unless there is a break in their affiliation with the entity, with some exceptions. A new background study must be done when:
Additional exceptions - a new background study must be done each year:
When students from education programs and employees of temporary agencies provide direct contact services in licensed entities, the license holder must obtain a copy of the background study notice for the individual before the individual provides direct contact services. A copy of the individual's background study determination by DHS must be maintained in the license holder's file. If the background study determination is more than one year old, it is not valid. The entity must initiate a new background study on the student or the employee from the temporary agency before the person provides direct contact services.
Probation officers and corrections agents are required to notify DHS when people who work in a setting that requires a DHS background study are convicted of a disqualifying crime. If an entity has information about a person that could lead to disqualification, the entity is required by law to report the information to DHS.
No. A person's background study may apply to multiple settings when all of the following requirements are met:
If any information for the contact person changes, the license holder must submit the updated information to DHS immediately.
Note: If a license holder with more than one licensed entity submits background studies under a single license, which is subsequently closed, the license holder must notify DHS and provide a list of active employees they wish to transfer to an active license. All employees who had background studies previously submitted under the closed license who transfer to other locations owned by the license holder must have new studies submitted under an active license.
An individual can be disqualified based on information from Minnesota or any other state that includes:
If a disqualification is set aside or a variance is granted, the background study subject's identity and disqualifying characteristic(s) are public data when:
Please refer to the following statutes for legal information:
Changes to the background study process include implementation of fingerprint-based background studies and NETStudy 2.0. More information about the changes to the background study process can be found on the Background Study Changes page.
NETStudy 2.0 is a web-based system used to submit background study requests to DHS. It is a separate system from the current NETStudy system. All entities will eventually be phased in to use of NETStudy 2.0 and will no longer use NETStudy. NETStudy 2.0 will offer several improvements to the background study process including:
Most (over 90%) background studies in NETStudy 2.0 are expected to clear within a few hours of a background study subject being fingerprinted and photographed.
You will be notified by postal mail. You must provide your current mailing address, and any updates, to the entity that submits your background study request.
The entity contact person will receive an email notification when a new determination is available to view in NETStudy 2.0. Providers access background study determinations in this system based on the user's security access. Background study documents, such as clearance notices, are maintained in NETStudy 2.0, so it is not necessary to keep paper copies to meet licensing requirements.
A notice will be mailed to you using the address you provided. You may also contact DHS to request a report listing the entities that initiated a background study on you.
Yes. Send a written request to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Background Studies Division. DHS will delete your background study information as long as you have not worked or volunteered for any entity for the previous two years and you do not have any current disqualifications. DHS is required by law to keep a record of your name and the date the information was deleted.
Fingerprints and photographs will be required for all background study subjects whose background studies are initiated in NETStudy 2.0. Entities will be phased into use of NETStudy 2.0 in 2015.
Note: Some background study subjects whose studies are initiated in the current NETStudy system are required to submit fingerprints. For example, if the background study subject is going to provide child foster care or adopt a child, or when DHS has reasonable cause. There is no change in this process.
Prior to being transitioned to NETStudy 2.0, DHS will contact the entity. Prior to establishing a NETStudy 2.0 account the entity's authorized agent (the license holder, administrator, or other person on record as having the authority to delegate the entity's sensitive information person (SIP)) must identify who will be the SIP in NETStudy 2.0.
The SIP will then be contacted and required to affirm that he or she understands the roles and responsibilities of the SIP related to background study requirements. The SIP will then be provided with login information and instructions for NETStudy 2.0. At that time, the entity will be considered fully transitioned to NETStudy 2.0.
Training will be web based and at no charge. The training materials will include YouTube videos that demonstrate how to initiate a background study request in NETStudy 2.0 and other YouTube videos that demonstrate various features of the NETStudy 2.0 system. These will remain posted for reference. There is also a user manual with detailed instructions about how to use NETStudy 2.0, including screen shots and user tips, as well as abbreviated, written quick start instructions for using the system.
No, current staff that already have a completed background study do not have to be fingerprinted unless they are required by law to have a new study. Fingerprints and photographs are only required for people who otherwise need a background study. For most entities, this applies to people who provide direct contact services when they are hired, or in some limited circumstances, change jobs within an entity's organization.
There will be fingerprinting and photo locations throughout the state. Information about the locations, including hours of operation, will be posted on the 3M Cogent website. Generally, people will not have to drive more than 40 miles (one way) from their home or place of work to reach a fingerprinting and photo location. In some areas the distance may be far less than 40 miles and some locations may be open daily and/or offer weekend or evening hours.
About five to ten minutes. Fingerprints and photos will be electronically captured and sent to DHS. Use of "Ink and roll" fingerprints on cards that must be mailed to DHS is eliminated for most studies.
The cost for fingerprinting and the photograph will be $9.10. This will be a one-time fee in most cases. The fee is the same at all statewide fingerprinting locations.
The fee to initiate a background study request in NETStudy 2.0 is the same as the current fee. The cost for the fingerprinting and photograph is separate.
The background study law does not specify who is responsible to pay the fingerprinting and photo fee. The fee goes to 3M Cogent, the fingerprint vendor, and must be paid prior to the fingerprinting and photo service. No part of the fee goes to DHS and it is not included in the fee to provide the background study determination.
Fingerprinting and photo fees may be paid online with a debit or credit card before going to the fingerprinting location by going to the 3M Cogent website, selecting the web page for Minnesota, and following the instructions. Payment may also be made at the fingerprinting location by personal check, money order, or cashier's check. Cash will not be accepted. To pay with a credit or debit card at the fingerprint and photo service location, the background study subject may call the 3M Cogent service center (during their business hours) to provide them information over the phone, may use a smart phone to access 3M Cogent's web page, or may ask the fingerprint technician to enter the credit or debit card information.
The vast majority of people will only need to be fingerprinted and photographed once if they elect to include their Social Security numbers in their NETStudy 2.0 profiles.
Not all volunteers are required to have a background study. Whether a background study is required is based on what roles the people have and the level of supervision they are provided. If a DHS background study is required, and the request is received after implementation of NETStudy 2.0, fingerprints will be required. The law did not change for who or when a background study is required.
Immediately after the background study request is submitted in NETStudy 2.0, the background study subject may go to a fingerprint and photo location. The hours these locations are open will vary, but in no case will a person have to wait more than three days, at most. Please refer to the 3M Cogent website for information about the locations and hours.
Yes. Entities must enter the background study request in NETStudy 2.0 which prompts a privacy notice to be given to the background study subject. The notice includes a form that the fingerprint vendor must have to capture the fingerprints and photo.
No. The fingerprint vendor will not be able to capture fingerprints of an individual without the authorization form that is generated after a background study is submitted in NETStudy 2.0.
The background study subject must bring a copy of the fingerprint authorization form (provided to the subject by the entity that initiated the study), an acceptable form of identification, and, if payment is required, must have an accepted form of payment (see above).
The authorization is valid for fourteen calendar days after the study was submitted. After that time, a new background study must be initiated by the entity to generate a new fingerprint authorization form.
Without the fingerprint authorization form and/or required identification, the fingerprint vendor will not be able to scan the background study subject's fingerprints or complete the photograph. The background study subject will have to return to the fingerprinting site with this information.
Background study subjects will have fourteen calendar days to be fingerprinted and photographed after a background study request has been submitted. On the seventh calendar day after the study was submitted, if the subject has not been fingerprinted and photographed, an electronic notification will be sent to the entity that submitted the study. The notice will inform the entity that the background study subject's fingerprints and photo have not yet been submitted. If the subject does not complete the requirement by the fourteenth calendar day, the subject will be ordered immediately removed from his or her position for failing to comply with background study requirements.
Neither DHS, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), nor the fingerprint vendor will maintain electronic fingerprint images. In cases that require the fingerprint images to be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a national criminal record search as required in current law, the fingerprint images will be kept by the FBI.
In NETStudy 2.0, people remain "affiliated" with an entity by being on the entity's "active roster." As long as a person is on an active roster, a new background study for that subject is not required under that entity and there is no time limit for how long a person may be absent from providing direct contact services and stay on an entity's active roster (i.e., it can be more than 120 days). If an individual is removed from the entity's active roster and later returns, a new background study is required to be submitted.
A background study subject is considered affiliated with an entity when the person is added to the entity's roster. Individuals are added to an entity's active roster immediately after a background study is submitted for that individual. Affiliation ends when the entity removes the person from its roster. This occurs when the subject is permanently separated from the entity or when the subject will no longer be providing direct care to, or have contact with, vulnerable individuals.
The entity's active roster is a list of people in NETStudy 2.0 who have a background study status that allows them to provide services for that entity. This includes staff, volunteers, and others who have a completed background study that resulted in a clearance, set aside, limited set aside, or variance.
Rosters provide the list of people for whom DHS will receive new criminal information from the state court system. The court information eliminates the need to repeat background studies on people to check for new criminal records because DHS will be informed if people on rosters commit acts that could cause them to be disqualified.
Individuals are added to an entity's active roster immediately after a background study is submitted for that individual. Entities must remove background study subjects from their rosters when that subject is no longer affiliated with the entity.
People who are affiliated with the entity but whose background study was completed in the pre-NETStudy 2.0 system will be transitioned to entities' rosters in a later phase of NETStudy 2.0 implementation.
Visit the Background Studies Changes page for detailed information, including the ability to subscribe to the background study ListServ to receive updates about the changes.
Questions about the background study changes and NETStudy 2.0 may be submitted to email@example.com or by contacting DHS at (651) 431-6625.
NETStudy is a web-based system used to submit background study requests to the Department of Human Services (DHS). Background studies are submitted by:
Entities log into secure NETStudy accounts via the Internet. The entity enters the required information to request a background study, submits the information to DHS, and views the background study determination. Entities may create and maintain their own users, and assign rights to tailor the NETStudy application and security to their needs.
Accounts are set up by DHS after the entity completes training. Visit NETStudy Information and Access.
An Internet browser, such as Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher, Safari version 3.0 or higher, or Firefox version 2.0 or higher, is required.
Yes. NETStudy is designed to minimize download time for users with dial-up connections.
There is no cost to access NETStudy, however certain entities pay a fee for each background study request that they submit.
The entity or study subject may enter the information.
The entity is responsible for verifying that the information submitted is complete and accurate.
Data in NETStudy is encrypted when traveling between the user's computer and DHS. Additionally, each NETStudy user must log into the system with his/her user name and password.
Background study determinations are mailed to the study subject as well as the entity that initiated the study. The determination is also available in NETStudy™ for the entity to view for a period of 60 days.
No. Currently there is not an option to provide the background study information electronically to the subject. Study subjects receive determinations through the U.S. mail.
Within three days of a background study being initiated, DHS provides the entity and the individual a notice about the status of the background study. The notices are mailed on colored paper.
Determinations remain available in NETStudy for 60 days from the date of the final determination.
Most (about 85%) determinations are provided within 24-48 hours.
For questions related to passwords, new users, study errors, etc., contact the NETStudy™ Administrator by email at DHS.NETStudy Admin@state.mn.us .
For general questions regarding background study requirements (such as, what the law requires, who needs a background study, what causes a person to be disqualified, how to get a copy of a result, why a study is not done yet, etc.), email the Background Study Administrator at DHS.BackgroundStudyAdmin@state.mn.us or call the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Background Studies Division, at (651) 431-6620.
For general questions regarding background study requirements (such as what the law requires, who needs a background study, what causes a person to be disqualified, how to get a copy of a result, why is a study not done yet , how to obtain more fingerprint cards, etc.), email the Adam Walsh Background Study Administrator at DHS.AWBackgroundStudy@state.mn.us or call the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Background Studies Division, at (651) 431-6620.