Background studies are required for certain people who provide direct contact services to vulnerable adults and children. State law requires people who provide direct contact services in certain health and human service settings to have a background study completed by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The background study determines whether a person committed an act that would disqualify him/her from providing direct contact services to children or vulnerable adults. Direct contact services means providing face-to-face care, training, supervision, counseling, consultation, or medication assistance to clients in health and human services programs. Direct contact services may apply to volunteers if they provide unsupervised services. DHS background studies are also required for certain others, such as guardians and conservators, guardians ad litem, people who provide foster care for children, and people who seek to adopt a child.
Information is provided from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) through secure data connections to NETStudy 2.0. DHS cannot begin to complete a background study request until a response is received from the BCA. This applies to all background studies, including those for people who have no criminal record.
BCA response times
It takes the BCA about five days on average to electronically send a response to DHS through NETStudy 2.0.
When a person’s fingerprints are recorded at a DHS authorized Livescan location, they are transmitted securely and in real-time to the BCA. The BCA uses the fingerprints to check for any criminal information that it may have about the person.
It takes DHS just under one hour on average to provide a clearance response once the BCA provides a response to DHS.
It can take much longer if the background study subject has criminal (or maltreatment) information that must be reviewed. This is because records may need to be obtained from other states or from courts or law enforcement entities. In many cases, background study subjects must provide releases to get information. These processes add time to how long it takes to complete the background study determination.
Background study DELAYS in March 2018
There will be a DELAY OF AT LEAST ONE WEEK to receive background study notices for studies requested from March 15 through March 19, 2018. DHS relies on information from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to complete background study determinations. The BCA will not provide DHS with any criminal information from March 15 through March 19, 2018 because of significant updates to their computer system.
Background studies may be submitted during this time and background study subjects can be fingerprinted. The fingerprints will be held (in the BCA’s secured computer system) for processing when the BCA’s new system is operational. The BCA expects this to be on March 20, 2018. The BCA is planning to have additional staff available to process these requests to catch up with the back-log as soon as possible.
Background study requests submitted on or before March 14, 2018 will be processed prior to the BCA’s computer update and should not be delayed due to the update. DHS worked with the BCA to minimize the down-time as much as possible because of the impact it will have on background study subjects, providers/entities, and people who receive many health and human services.
What information is provided from the BCA
All DHS employment-type background studies include checks of the following BCA data:
Criminal history information.
Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry.
DHS is informed when, people who have a BCA record in Minnesota, have or may have criminal history information in another state. In these cases, DHS is provided information in order to seek the records from the other state.
All DHS employment-type background studies also include:
Records of substantiated maltreatment of vulnerable adults and minors from investigations completed by:
Minnesota county adult and child protection units.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Licensing Division.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Office of Health Facilities Complaints.
Automated updates* of Minnesota maltreatment data from the above sources.
Automated notices* from the Minnesota Court Information System (MNCIS).
Registry checks completed by the entity submitting the background study. The registries are: The Minnesota Nurse Aide Registry (negative actions), the federal List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE), and the Minnesota list of excluded individuals.
Automated updates* of the provider registries.
*The automated updates apply to background study subjects that are on a program’s active roster in NETStudy 2.0 or are within six months of separation from the program’s roster.
Some background studies include an FBI record search:
A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) record check is required by law for some background studies, including the following.
When the background study subject has a BCA record that indicates there is or may be criminal information in another state.
When the background study is related to the adoption of a child or to provide child foster care services. In addition to the FBI check, there are other federal background study requirements that are required for these studies.
When a background study subject lives in a state other than Minnesota and the background study is for a home health agency, nursing home, or a boarding care home. These background study subjects must also have a maltreatment record check in the state in which they reside.
Acts that disqualify a person from providing direct contact services or caring for children are specified in state law along with the appropriate time period for the disqualification. 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.
The DHS background study system, implemented in 1991, is managed by the Background Studies Division. DHS background studies include a review of criminal history information maintained by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, records of substantiated maltreatment of a child or vulnerable adult, and other applicable records. In some cases, fingerprints of the background study subject are required to conduct a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) record check.
In 2014 DHS conducted over 310,000 background studies, or over 1,200 background studies per day. Results on most background study requests (over 85%) are provided within 24-to-48 hours. About 15% of background studies need additional review, sometimes including information from other states.