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 the enhanced child care background study requirements.
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.
Each time a background study status is updated, entities receive an email notification that a notice is available to view in NETStudy 2.0. The study subject is sent a copy of the notice via postal mail.
DHS will review information regarding potentially disqualifying crimes and/or conduct. This includes but is not limited to checking: criminal, maltreatment and predatory offender databases. 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 permanently prohibit a person from providing direct contact services in settings that require a DHS background study. Some examples of permanently disqualifying offenses are felony domestic assault, felony crimes against child and criminal sexual conduct (this is not an all-inclusive list).
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.
Background study fees reflect the cost of conducting a background study, including potential appeals and the NETStudy 2.0 system. DHS has funding available to continue pay the one-time costs associated with enhanced child care background studies for all child care provider types and affiliated individuals to help child care providers come into compliance with state and federal Child Care Development Block Grant requirements. Until further notice, providers will not be charged for enhanced child care background studies, fingerprinting and photo service fee or studies for minors. When fees are reinstated they will be:
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. In 2018 and 2019, the 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.
Child care 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.
These guidance documents below will help you determine who needs 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. 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. The following circumstances require a child to have fingerprint-based FBI background study:
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:
* Minors who have a name and date of birth study will need a fingerprint-based study when they turn 18.
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 – Name and Date of Birth based search
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 can also indicate if a person has or could have a record in another state.
Minnesota's criminal history record repository – Name and Date of Birth based search
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 publicly available on the Minnesota Department of Corrections or Department of Public Safety websites.
Minnesota's maltreatment registry – Name and Date of Birth based search
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 county maltreatment finding, DHS investigation or a 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.
Minnesota Court Information System (daily, ongoing) – Name and Date of Birth based search
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 (daily, ongoing) – Name and Date of Birth based search
Every day, DHS receives a list of new substantiated maltreatment determinations from the Social Services Information System as a result of county maltreatment findings. The DHS database is also updated regularly to include new DHS and Minnesota Department of Health substantiated maltreatment findings. DHS compares this information against the list of individuals on an active roster using name and date of birth.
National Crime Information Center/National Sex Offender Registry based search
This is a name and date of birth search of the National Crime Information Center/National Sex Offender Registry. The search is sent by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to the FBI and returned to DHS. DHS compares this information against the information submitted in the background study to determine if there is a match.
A search of criminal history for every state where the individual resided during the past five years
This search is conducted using protocols established by each individual state. DHS facilitates the completion of these checks. In some cases, study subject cooperation is required.
A search of the sex offender registry for every state where the individual resided during the past five years
This search is conducted using protocols established by each individual state. DHS facilitates the completion of these checks.
If you have not had an enhanced study as described above, you will require a new study. This is because not all background study requirements are the same. Child care background studies require more checks than other types of background studies. Additionally, only fingerprint-based child care background studies that were submitted on or after Oct. 4, 2018 include the enhanced requirements.
Yes, you will need to have an enhanced study and be fingerprinted at a DHS-authorized location after Dec. 1, 2021, when fingerprint studies are scheduled to resume for individuals who have received an emergency study. You will need to have an enhanced study by July 2, 2022 to continue to work after that date.
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 live scan fingerprint-based DHS background studies, a photograph is taken. This photo is not shared with the FBI or the Minnesota BCA. The photograph is available to the entity that submits the study for identification purposes. 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.
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.
All enhanced child care studies are submitted through the NETStudy 2.0 system.
Legal nonlicensed and licensed family child care programs should submit studies through their county. Contact your county licensor for additional information.
Licensed child care centers and certified license exempt centers should submit studies directly to DHS. As part of the licensing and certification process, your entity will be granted access to NETStudy 2.0
Fingerprints must be recorded at a DHS authorized location . Study subjects will be provided with instructions after their background study has been submitted. The fingerprint and photo fee may either be paid electronically in advance of fingerprinting or at the location by check or money order.
DHS has funding available to continue pay the one-time costs associated with enhanced child care background studies for all child care provider types and affiliated individuals to help child care providers come into compliance with state and federal Child Care Development Block Grant requirements. Until further notice, providers will not be charged for enhanced child care background studies or fingerprinting and photo service fees. The fee for the background study when charged is $40 per study for adults and $42 for minors. When fingerprints are required, the fee is $9.50 and paid to the fingerprinting collection site. NETStudy 2.0 and the fingerprint vendor site are set up to allow either the study subject or child care entity to pay these fees.
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 submitting background studies for family child care and legal nonlicensed programs to DHS.
Enhanced studies for licensed child care centers and certified child care centers were available starting in October 2018 for new programs and new employees. Beginning in early 2019, existing providers will be notified with plenty of advance notice when the enhanced studies are available for them and about the study submission process.
Enhanced studies for licensed family child care programs are available beginning Jan. 1, 2019 for new providers and new household members. Enhanced background studies for licensed family child care providers will be implemented in a phased manner that will not be tied to a licensing renewal date. This means that for existing providers with license renewals on or after Jan. 1, 2019, county licensing agencies will relicense providers without conducting background studies as part of this process. By the end of 2020, all licensed family child care providers and those affiliated with their license (i.e., other caregivers and household members) will need to have obtained an enhanced study through NETStudy 2.0. For more information on timelines for obtaining an enhanced study, please see Roll out of enhanced background studies for licensed family child care providers (PDF).
Enhanced studies for legal nonlicensed providers will begin Jan. 1, 2019, according to regular renewal schedules.
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.
There is a complete list of disqualifications in Minnesota Statutes chapter 245C.15. Individuals who are disqualified have 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.