Beginning October 2019, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will launch Phase 2 of the implementation and rollout of enhanced background studies for licensed family child care providers. Licensed child care centers began submitting enhanced background studies in October 2018, and in January, counties began submitting background studies for individuals who were newly affiliated with licensed family child care providers. To date, DHS has received over 33,000 child care background studies.
Phase 2 of the implementation for licensed family child care providers is organized into groups of targeted counties/regions with scheduled timeframes and deadlines for submission of background studies. County licensing agencies will continue to play a key role in the background study process as they will initiate background studies through the NETStudy 2.0 system for family child care providers. Additionally, to increase access to fingerprinting service locations, and to assist child care providers in meeting federal and state compliance requirements, a number of county licensing agencies have agreed to host DHS Livescan devices at their respective sites on a scheduled timeframe. See the rollout schedule (below):
Lake of the Woods
Lac qui Parle
DHS Background Studies will be contacting each county in advance of scheduled launch dates to provide detailed information related to implementation activities.
Over the next few years, federal laws require states to conduct criminal background studies on all individuals affiliated with license-exempt centers registered to receive Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) funding, legal non-licensed providers, licensed child care centers, and licensed family child care programs.
The 2019 Minnesota Legislature enacted the following provisions:
What does an enhanced background study include?
Implementation, rollout planning and county roles
Thousands of individuals associated with family child care and child care center programs will need to be studied. DHS continues planning for a significant rollout of the enhanced background studies for family child care providers. It is expected that a rollout will start during the third quarter of 2019, and will occur by regions throughout the state.
DHS and county licensing agencies will work together to ensure that every provider completes the enhanced background studies over an 18-month period.
Enhanced background studies are being phased in using the NETStudy 2.0 system.
County licensing agencies will continue to play a key role in the enhanced background studies process, and will serve as the primary source for initiating all background studies through NETStudy 2.0 for providers and other individuals who are affiliated with licensed family child care programs. Some county licensing agencies have expressed an interest in temporarily providing fingerprinting and photo imaging services to ensure expanded access is available to providers. County licensing agencies cannot charge their own fees for new background studies conducted through NETStudy 2.0.
New household members and caregivers
As of Jan. 1, 2019, when a licensed provider notifies the county licensing agency of a new household member, a new caregiver, a substitute or other person needing a background study, the county licensing agency must initiate the background study process through the NETStudy 2.0 background study system.
County licensors will also initiate background studies for minors when a licensed provider notifies the county licensing agency that a minor is living in the household where the licensed program will be provided and the minor is not receiving licensed services from the program.
Background studies for minors are based on the individual’s name and date of birth. Please note: While most minors (ages 13 to 17) living in the household will receive a background study based on the minor’s name and date of birth, a fingerprint-based FBI study will be required if the minor meets any of the following conditions:
No fees for enhanced studies
In August 2018, DHS announced that the department will pay the background study costs for existing licensed providers. As part of the rollout of the enhanced background studies and for a limited period of time, existing licensed providers as of March 1, 2019 will not incur a fee to obtain the enhanced background study through NETStudy 2.0. DHS will continue to provide more details as we approach implementation.
DHS Livescan survey responses
DHS sent out a survey to all the counties in May 2019 to determine which counties would be able to facilitate the use of Livescan fingerprinting devices. DHS Background Studies will be following up with those counties that have expressed interest in advance of the implementation.
Additional information and resources
Minnesota Statutes, 245C.05, subd. 4 no longer has a reference to sharing background study results with private agencies. This change was necessary to comply with requirements from the FBI. The Department of Human Services still has authority to electronically share foster care background study results with counties and private agencies under the Adam Walsh Act. Effective Aug. 1, 2020 (Minnesota Session Laws - 2020, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2)
Housing support services
Providers of housing stabilization services are required to have background studies. The fee for each study is $20. Effective Aug. 1, 2020 (Minnesota Session Laws - 2020, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2)
Title IV-E: Children's residential facilities and foster residence settings
A study subject affiliated with a children's residential facility or foster residence setting may not work —regardless of supervision — until receiving either a clearance notice or notice that more time is needed to complete the study. If someone is affiliated with a Title IV-E-eligible facility or setting receives a more time is needed notice, they may not work until they receive a set aside or a variance. If a person affiliated with a non-Title IV-E-eligible facility or setting receives a more time is needed notice, their notice will indicate if they may work with or without supervision until they either receive a clearance notice or a set aside or variance. DHS must order the immediate removal of an individual from any position allowing direct contact with or access to people receiving services and from working in a Title IV-E-eligible children's residential facility or foster residence setting pending completion of the background study if a prior background study on that individual resulted in an order for immediate removal. Effective Aug. 1, 2020 (Minnesota Session Laws - 2020, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2)
Guardian and conservator background studies
Guardian and conservator studies require a national criminal history check and the study renewal period is now five years instead of two years. The fee for each study is $110. Each study subject will receive a privacy notice from the court and must acknowledge receiving it. DHS will provide the court with information from a review of state licensing agency or board affiliations provided by the study subject. DHS is required to use the NETStudy 2.0 system to conduct the background studies. Effective Jan. 1, 2021 (Minnesota Session Laws - 2020, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2)
Assisted living licensure
Assisted living facilities (those with and without dementia care) will be required to have background studies under a contract between the commissioner of health and the commissioner of human services. A controlling individual or managerial official of an assisted living facility must have a background study prior to the commissioner of health issuing a provisional license, issuing a license resulting from an ownership change or renewing a license. Employees, contractors and volunteers also will be required to have background studies. Classifies data collected as private data. Effective Aug. 1, 2021
Child care federal compliance
The law clarifies who needs a study for child care programs and details exclusions for individuals providing services that are not part of the child care program. All adults and individuals 17 and younger who are employed by a child care program (or when there is reasonable cause) must submit non-fingerprint-based data for a search of a national sex offender registry and the out-of-state criminal and sex offender registries in any state where the subject has lived in the last five years.
A study subject affiliated with a licensed child care center or a certified license-exempt child care center must be under continuous direct supervision prior to completion of the background study. The commissioner may issue a clearance notice for a study subject if 1) another state has not responded to a request for criminal, sex offender or maltreatment information after 10 days, and 2) this is the only reason that the study could not be cleared. Effective July 1, 2019
Family First Prevention Services Act
The law requires new background studies for individuals connected with licensed children's residential facilities. Individuals employed by a licensed children’s residential facility that serves children eligible to receive federal Title IV-E funding must complete the new background study by March 1, 2020. Individuals connected with a licensed children's residential facility that serves children not receiving federal Title IV-E funding must complete the new background study by March 1, 2021.
Studies related to children's residential facilities require fingerprints and photographs. The FBI does not retain the fingerprints. The fee for children's residential facilities studies may not exceed $51 per study. Effective July 1, 2019
If the commissioner of human services makes a disqualification determination using information from a national criminal history record check:
Effective Oct. 1, 2019
Head Start background studies
Head Start programs receiving chapter 119A.52 funding may contract with the commissioner to conduct background studies on individuals affiliated with the program. The law requires a national criminal history record check. Programs that do not contract with the commissioner, are not licensed, and are not registered to receive payments under chapter 119B are exempt from chapter 245C requirements. Nothing in this section supersedes background study requirements in chapters 119B or 245H or programs registered to receive Chapter 119B payments. Transferable background studies must include all components of studies for a certified license-exempt child care center under chapter 245C. Effective July 1, 2019
Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) background studies
PELSB must contract with DHS to conduct background studies for first-time teaching license applicants. Effective July 1, 2019
Permanent bar set aside
The law allows for the set aside of a permanent bar for an individual employed in the nonemergency medical transportation services field if more than 40 years have passed since sentence discharge. Effective Jan. 1, 2020
Substance use disorder set aside
The commissioners of health and of human services must set aside a disqualification for an individual in the substance use disorder field who requests reconsideration and who meets the following criteria: The individual may not have been disqualified for specified crimes. The individual must have documentation of successful treatment completed at least one year prior the request for reconsideration with no disqualifying crimes during that time and have documentation of abstinence from controlled substances for at least one year. Effective Jan. 1, 2020
Tribal organization background studies
Tribal organizations may contract with the commissioner to conduct background studies on individuals affiliated with a child care program sponsored, managed or licensed by a tribal organization. The law requires a national criminal history record check on those individuals. A tribally affiliated child care program that does not contract with the commissioner is exempt from requirements of chapter 245C. Transferable background studies must include all components of studies for a certified license-exempt child care center under chapter 245C. Effective July 1, 2019
Child foster care
Beginning June 18, all newly initiated background studies for minors (17 years of age and younger) affiliated with family child foster care programs will have a name and date of birth state study instead of one that uses fingerprints. (Minnesota Laws 2018, Chapter 166)
Adult foster care
Beginning June 18, all newly initiated background studies for minors (17 years of age and younger) affiliated with family adult foster care programs will have a name and date of birth state study instead of one that uses fingerprints. (Minnesota Laws 2018, Chapter 166)
Family child care
Historically, children (ages 13 – 17) living in the household with a family child care program were required to have a state background study based on their name and date of birth. In 2017, a law change would have required these children to have a state background study based upon their fingerprints. The 2017 law never went into effect because DHS had not finished updating its computer system and did not require providers to meet the enhanced requirements.
After much conversation among providers, legislators, and DHS staff, the 2017 law was changed in 2018. Under the new law, most children (ages of 13 to 17) living in the household with a family child care program will continue to be required to have a state background study based on their name and date of birth. There are a number of circumstances in which a child living in the household would be required to have a fingerprint-based FBI background study.
A fingerprint-based FBI check will be required for children living in the household if they meet any of these requirements:
The new law also capped the cost of background studies for children at $20, unless a fingerprint-based FBI background study is required (in which case an additional fingerprinting fee is also required).
The background studies conducted by DHS are not available right now while DHS finishes updating its computer system. Providers will be given more information before they need to take any action and will continue to complete county studies until they receive further notice from DHS. (Minnesota Laws 2018, Chapter 166)
General changes for background studies
The 2018 law requires individuals affiliated with a DHS-licensed program to have a fingerprint-based FBI check if the individual:
This change is effective starting in August 2018. More information will be posted on the DHS website and in NETStudy 2.0.
Laws of Minnesota 2017, Chapter 90
Effective the day following final enactment
Child foster care background study streamlining (Sections 2-9)
This amends state law to differentiate between the background study processes for family foster care and corporate foster care. The change specifies that county and private agencies must submit the background study request to DHS only when the child foster care applicant or license holder resides in the home where foster care services are provided. The applicant or license holder is responsible for submitting background study requests to DHS in settings where the license holder does not reside in the home where services are provided.
Laws of Minnesota 2017, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6
Various effective dates
Child Care and Development Block Grant Conformity (Article 16, Sections 3, 5, 18-42)
These changes require a new fingerprint-based background study for all child care providers. The new background study, which will be valid for five years, will include a review of Minnesota criminal records, checks against Minnesota’s predatory offender registry and child abuse and neglect registry. It will also include a review of FBI criminal records, the National Sex Offender public website, and child abuse and neglect registries in any state where the subject has resided in the previous five years. All individuals whose activities involve the care or supervision of a child or include unsupervised access to children will be required to undergo the new enhanced background study. The department will be working with county social service agencies and providers to review the amendments to the law, develop more detailed materials and meet with affected parties to review these changes.
The department will contact providers and counties with more details about when the new enhanced background studies will be required.
The new study requirements apply to licensed family child care, licensed child care centers, legal nonlicensed child care, and license-exempt centers that receive Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) payments. The new law requires all “child care staff” and controlling individuals to have a compliant study. “Child care staff” is defined as anyone who meets at least one of these definitions:
Content of new studies
All studies will be conducted using the study subject’s fingerprints. The state does not retain fingerprints, but the FBI may keep them. All new studies will require the department to review the following databases:
Changes in disqualifications
The law adds new permanent disqualifications that prohibit licensure, certification, CCAP registration, residing in the licensed or registered household of a child care provider, or working for a child care provider. This list only includes the new changes to disqualifications in state law – all others are listed in Chapter 245C:
If you have questions about any of these changes, please see our frequently asked questions about child care background studies.
Background Study Enhancements effective July 1, 2015:
Several significant provisions were enacted that will improve the accuracy of DHS background studies and increase protections for vulnerable adults and children who receive services from those who have a background study. The changes include:
Group Residential Housing Providers (Article 1, sections 3, 6, and 28)
Non-emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Providers (Article 11, sections 7, 8 and 9)
Several significant provisions were enacted that will help clarify and streamline background studies conducted by DHS. The changes include: