The county or private child placing agency is responsible for submitting the background study request online using NETStudy™ BEFORE the study subject can begin providing services. If the subject is applying for a child foster care license, the background studies for him/her and all household members must be completed before the application for licensure can be submitted. Some county and private child placing agencies will have the subject enter his/her information into NETStudy™, but they are ultimately responsible for verifying that the information is correct, and submitting the request to the Department of Human Services (DHS).
There is not a fee for background studies related to child foster care.
All background studies include a name and date of birth check of:
Background studies related to child foster care and adoption also include:
For background studies related to a child foster care application, after DHS receives the background study request, the background study subject and the county or private agency that submitted the study will receive notification regarding the status of the background study. The study subject will receive one of the following colored mailers:
An individual is disqualified if s/he is found to have committed any act or offense listed in Minnesota statutes, section 245C.15.
If a background study subject is disqualified, s/he will be notified of the disqualification and any applicable appeal rights in writing. For background studies related to a currently licensed program, the letter to the subject and the licensed program will also state whether the subject may continue providing direct contact services pending a possible reconsideration decision and if so, under what conditions. If the background study is related to a currently licensed program, the program will not be informed of the reason for the disqualification unless it is due to a substantiated finding of maltreatment that is determined to be serious and/or recurring.
The county or private child placing agency that initiated the background study will be notified of the disqualification, and provided a summary of the information received as a result of the background study.
An individual may be disqualified based on information from Minnesota or any other state showing:
The period of disqualification depends on the act or offense for which the individual is disqualified. The period of disqualification begins once the person's sentence, if any, has been discharged.
The disqualification periods are:
Individuals who are disqualified have the opportunity to appeal the disqualification by requesting reconsideration
The subject can request reconsideration on the basis that the information used to disqualify is incorrect, and on the basis that the individual doesn't pose a risk of harm to people receiving services. Along with the notice of disqualification to the subject, DHS will send a form to use and instructions for how the subject can request reconsideration.
In some cases, if the subject is found to pose an imminent risk or harm to people receiving services, s/he will be ordered immediately removed from a position providing services or having unsupervised access to people receiving services and their belongings.
If the program is not ordered to immediately remove the subject from his/her position, the program may choose whether to allow the person to continue providing direct contact services pending a possible reconsideration decision. If the program chooses to allow the person to continue in a position allowing direct contact services, the program must first do the following:
If the background study is related to an application for child foster care, the license can't be granted until all background studies affiliated with the application have been completed. Disqualifications must either be set aside, or the applicant must have been granted a variance to the disqualification.
For background studies related to child foster care, the request for reconsideration is first sent to the county or private child placing agency for their review and recommendation whether to set aside the disqualification. The private agency will forward their recommendation to DHS. DHS will review the request for reconsideration and county or private agency recommendation, and make a final decision. The subject, the county or private agency and the license holder (if applicable) will be notified in writing of the decision.
Set-Aside: If the request for reconsideration submitted provides sufficient information to demonstrate that the individual does not pose a risk of harm to any person served by the program, then the commissioner may "set-aside" the disqualification. While the subject remains disqualified, s/he may have direct contact with or access to persons receiving services, and may also hold a license. The set-aside of a disqualification is limited solely to the license specified in the set aside notice.
Not set-aside: If the request for reconsideration submitted does not provide sufficient information to demonstrate that the subject doesn't pose a risk of harm to any persons served by the program, then the disqualification will not be set-aside. The subject will either have to be immediately removed from his/her position, or, if s/he were already removed, will not be allowed to return to work. Under certain circumstances, the license holder can request a variance to an individual's disqualification that has not been set aside.
If a background study conducted in connection with an application for child foster care is not set aside, a license will not be granted when there is a disqualification that is not set aside unless a variance is granted to the license holder/applicant.
The term "bar" refers to the statutory prohibition to the commissioner's setting aside certain disqualifications.
Ten- and seven-year bars only apply to child foster care settings where the license holder resides in the licensed home
In addition, under certain circumstances, the commissioner may grant the license holder a variance to a disqualification that is a ten- or seven-year bar.
An applicant for child foster care must have a background study completed prior to a license being granted. The study does not need to be repeated as long as the license remains open and the individual remains affiliated with the license.
Employees and volunteers must have a background study completed at the time of hire. The study does not have to be repeated for the same program UNLESS:
If a disqualification is set-aside or a variance is granted, the subject's identity and disqualifying characteristic(s) are public data when the set-aside or variance relates to any other program and the individual has a disqualifying characteristic under section 245C.15, subdivision 2.
More information regarding the public data exception for household members
Please see Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245C (Human Services Background Studies Act) for more information.