Background studies are submitted by counties (for home-based providers) or directly to DHS by center-based providers through DHS’s NETStudy 2.0 system. NETStudy 2.0 is a web-based application that allows entities to initiate and manage background study requests and notifications. When a background study request is submitted, the background study fee must be paid.
Once a background study request is submitted in the system, if required by law, the background study subject must be fingerprinted at a DHS-approved location. Find more information on what type of child care study is required.
At the fingerprint location, the subject presents an acceptable form of identification to verify the identity of the person. The subject then pays a fingerprinting fee, is fingerprinted and photographed. The fingerprinting fee may also be paid in advance. The fingerprints are required for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) record check and the FBI record check. The photograph is required for the provider to confirm that the person who was fingerprinted is the applicant. The photograph is also one component that allows a background study to be transferable for future employment. When a new program initiates a DHS background study, they can verify that the applicant is the same person for whom previous study determination was issued.
Background study subjects have 14 days from study initiation to get fingerprinted. After the subject is fingerprinted, it currently takes the BCA between one and four days to process the prints. About 90 percent of background studies clear within a few hours of DHS receiving a response from the BCA.
Once a determination is made, study subjects are mailed a notice. Entities are notified through NETStudy. Study subjects receive results through the mail and entities are notified electronically through NETStudy 2.0.
The provider does not receive the study subject’s full criminal record (if there is one) or any information beyond what is included in the clearance notice. If the study subject is disqualified, the study subject and the provider receive notices indicating that the study subject cannot serve in a position that requires a DHS background study.
DHS will review information from criminal, maltreatment and predatory offender databases for disqualifying characteristics listed in Minnesota law. Find more information on what a search of each database means.
Acts that disqualify a person from providing direct contact services or caring for children are specified in state law along with the required time period that the disqualification applies. Some disqualifications, such as felony domestic assault, felony crimes against children, criminal sexual conduct and others, permanently prohibit a person from providing direct contact services in settings that require a DHS background study.
If a person is disqualified, the study subject can request reconsideration based on either the fact that:
Along with the notice of disqualification to the background study subject, DHS sends a form and instructions about how to request a reconsideration.
State law requires that the DHS charge a fee that reflects the cost of conducting a background study, including potential appeals and the NETStudy 2.0 system. The fees for child care background studies are:
DHS is preparing to implement the enhanced background studies that will impact all licensed child care programs starting this fall. This also impacts all certified licensed-exempt centers. (Non-licensed providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are also impacted by these changes.) These new enhanced background studies are required by changes in federal law. For more information on the new study requirements, go to Minnesota child care provider background studies.
The federal Office of Child Care has informed states that they are able to use certain child care block grant funds to help providers pay for the new enhanced background studies.
Accordingly, DHS will pay for the cost of the new background studies for existing providers and their staff/family members who already have a current background study when the new enhanced studies are rolled out. (Non-licensed providers participating in CCAP will also have their costs covered and will receive a separate letter from DHS.)
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.
Background studies are used as a screening mechanism to protect the health and safety of children. They ensure that those providing licensed child care and child care providers that participate in CCAP do not have a history that may adversely affect the children in care. The background study determines whether a person committed an act that would disqualify them from providing child care services.
The background study requirements apply to four provider types:
These changes also apply to education programs, staffing agencies or other service providers that have individuals working in one or more of these child care programs.
The guidance documents below will help you determine if a person will need to have a background study.
Maybe. The guidance documents below will help you determine if you need a background study
Yes, all children (ages 13-17) living in the household with a family child care program or a legal nonlicensed program are required to have a background study. Most children (ages 13-17) living in the household will continue to be required to have a background study based on their name and date of birth. Once the enhanced studies for child care programs are available, there are a limited number of circumstances in which a child living in the household would be required to have a fingerprint-based FBI background study. These are when:
No. The law does not make children in a child care home employees.
However, unrelated to the recent CCDBG changes, state law has required a child over the age of 13 who assists the provider with the care of children be considered a “helper” under Rule 2.
Yes, current child foster care providers will need to have a new background study because the study requirements are different for the two provider types.
All background studies on individuals affiliated with child care programs will require a review of information from the following databases and, where applicable, the databases in sections A and B below:
A. Any individual over the age of 18, or a minor (ages 13-17) who is an employee, a contractor, someone who supervises children in care, or who has lived outside of Minnesota anytime in the last five years will have a background study that also includes the following elements:
B. A minor ages 13 to 17 who does not meet one of the criteria in A above will have a background study that includes the following elements in addition to items one through five listed above:
FBI criminal history records – Fingerprint-based
This is a request to the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system at the FBI. Law enforcement submit criminal records and associated fingerprints to the NGI for indexing. Fingerprints for a DHS background study are sent through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to the FBI and compared to the fingerprints cataloged in the NGI. If there is a match, the FBI returns the associated criminal history to DHS via the BCA.
Minnesota's criminal history record repository – Fingerprint-based
This is a fingerprint-based search of Minnesota criminal history records, which contain information on Minnesota arrests and dispositions. All law enforcement agencies in the state report to this database. Courts and the Minnesota Department of Corrections report information regarding convictions, court dispositions, probation and custody actions. The information obtained for fingerprint-based studies also includes offender status information, which can indicate if a person has or could have a record in another state.
Minnesota's criminal history record repository – Name and Date of Birth
This is a name and date of birth based search of Minnesota criminal history records. The scope of criminal records information is the same as for fingerprint-based studies but records are processed manually at DHS to determine if a criminal record with similar name or alias to a study subject belongs to the subject. The name and date of birth records do not include the offender status field so it is unknown if a subject has or could have a criminal record in another state.
Minnesota's predatory offender registry – Name and Date of Birth
This is a name and date of birth based search of Minnesota predatory offender records. This database includes all individuals who are registered or required to be registered as a predatory offender. It includes information not publically available on the Minnesota Department of Corrections or Department of Public Safety websites.
Minnesota's maltreatment registry – Name and Date of Birth
This is a name-based search of substantiated maltreatment of vulnerable adults and children recorded in the Social Services Information System and in DHS's database that are the result of a DHS or Minnesota Department of Health investigation.
An out-of-state search of the child abuse and neglect registry for every state that the individual resided in during the past five years – Name and Date of Birth
This is a name and date of birth search of substantiated maltreatment of children recorded in other states. DHS has an established relationships with every state's child abuse and neglect agency as a part of conducting studies required under the Federal Adam Walsh Act for child foster care and adoptions.
Minnesota Court Information System (daily, ongoing) – Name and Date of Birth
Every day, DHS receives name and date of birth information from the Minnesota Court Information System related to potentially disqualifying information and compares it to a list of individuals who are on an active child care roster within our system.
Minnesota Maltreatment Information (weekly, ongoing) – Name and Date of Birth
Every week, DHS compiles a list of individuals who are on an active roster and using name and date of birth, we compare the list to new substantiated maltreatment determinations in the Social Services Information System and in other DHS databases that are the result of a DHS or Minnesota Department of Health investigation.
All current and new child care providers will need to have an enhanced background study meeting the above requirements. There is no grandfathering of current individuals even if the previous study was conducted by DHS and used fingerprints.
For licensed child care centers, current NETStudy 2.0 studies do not fulfill the enhanced requirements. Enhanced studies are not available at this time. Providers will be notified well in advance of when they will be required to have a new enhanced study.
Unfortunately, you will need to have an enhanced study submitted and be fingerprinted again through the DHS statewide fingerprint system.
Studies submitted through NETStudy 2.0 at this time do not fulfill the requirements of the enhanced study. All staff who have been studies through NETStudy 2.0 will need to have a new study.
The state of Minnesota does not, will not, and cannot retain fingerprints for any DHS study subject. The BCA submits fingerprints to the FBI for review and requests that the FBI not retain them. The FBI states that it does not keep fingerprints if the submitting agency requests this status. The FBI uses the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system to process background studies submitted by Minnesota. In its Privacy Impact Statement for the NGI system, the FBI states that fingerprints for non-criminal justice studies are only retained when the submitting agency authorizes them to be retained. Minnesota requests that they not be retained.
For fingerprint-based DHS background studies, a photograph is taken. This photo – similar to the one taken for a driver’s license – is not shared with the FBI or the Minnesota BCA. The photograph is available to the entity that submits the study, in the case of licensed family child care and legal nonlicensed child care, this is the county. A photograph is not taken for name-based background studies.
Enhanced studies will start to be available in October 2018 for new providers. Beginning in fall 2018, existing providers will be notified with plenty of advance notice when the enhanced studies are available for them and about the study submission process. For more information on timelines for obtaining an enhanced study, please see the:
We welcome your feedback on the proposed timelines and processes for obtaining an enhanced study. Please email your comments to DHS.CCDFReform@state.mn.us.
Federal and state laws require a new enhanced child care study every five years. Minors who have a name and date of birth study will need a study when they turn 18. Again, implementation of the new enhanced studies has not yet begun anywhere in the state.
Federal and state law require a check of specific databases for anyone who lives outside of Minnesota or has sometime in the last five years.
Implementation of the new enhanced studies has not yet begun anywhere in the state. Legal nonlicensed and licensed family child care programs will submit studies through their county. Licensed child care centers and certified license exempt centers will submit studies directly to DHS. All enhanced child care studies are submitted through the NETStudy 2.0 system.
Implementation of the new enhanced studies has not yet begun anywhere in the state. You will need to be fingerprinted through the DHS statewide fingerprint system. A list of current public fingerprint locations is available on the state’s fingerprint vendor website. We are working with the vendor to increase access to fingerprinting services. A mobile fingerprinting option for specific situations will also likely be made available. Details about this service will be shared as soon as it is confirmed.
There will be two fees for a new enhanced child care background study. The first is the background study fee which will be $40 per study for adults and $20 for minors. The second is a fingerprinting fee for when fingerprints are a required part of the study. This fee is $9.10 and paid to the fingerprinting collection site. State law allows the child care program or the study subject to pay for the study.
Yes. You will no longer need to have study conducted on your household every one or two years. Instead, you will need to have a new enhanced every five years. This also means that the background study fee that you pay to the county, if you have one, will go away.
County social service agencies will continue to be involved in the background study process for submitting family child care and legal nonlicensed programs to DHS. We are working with counties to coordinate roles and responsibilities.
Implementation of the new enhanced studies has not yet begun anywhere in the state. Enhanced studies will start to be available in October 2018 for new providers. Beginning in Fall 2018, existing providers will be notified with plenty of advance notice when the enhanced studies are available for them and about the study submission process.
For more information on timelines for obtaining an enhanced study, please see the:
We welcome your feedback on the proposed timelines and processes for obtaining an enhanced study. Please email your comments to DHS.CCDFReform@state.mn.us,
There is a complete list of disqualifications in Minnesota Statutes chapter 245C.15. Individuals who are disqualified have extensive reconsideration (appeal) rights. If you receive a disqualification letter, there will be a packet of information describing how you can request reconsideration.
We are glad that you are interested in learning more. We want to hear from you. Send an email to DHS.CCDFReform@state.mn.us with your questions, comments or recommendations.