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Background checks are an important safety measure for participants in the Self-Determination Program because people with developmental disabilities are more likely to be abused than people without disabilities.
Who is required to get a background check?
Anyone who provides direct personal care services to participants in the Self-Determination Program must obtain a background check and receive clearance before working. This includes family members who provide direct personal care services. Program participants or their financial management services (FMS) provider can also request proof of clear background checks from any other Self-Determination Program service provider.
Providers who furnish services to more than one Self-Determination Program participant are required to get only one background check.
Why are background checks required?
Background checks help to protect the health and safety of participants and their families. Background checks also help participants find candidates who have not been convicted of a serious crime.
Where do providers get background checks?
Providers must sign a DMV release form and get their fingerprints taken at a "Live Scan" location. Click to see listings throughout California.
A Self-Determination Program participant's FMS provider can also tell candidates where to get Live Scan fingerprints and how much it will cost them. Providers are responsible for the cost of the Live Scan.
How do applicants get their fingerprints taken for a background check?
- An applicant must fill out a Live Scan form and go to a Live Scan location to get fingerprints. FMS providers can help applicants find a location and the forms.
- The California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations check the fingerprints and electronically sends the fingerprint report to the Department of Developmental Services' Office of Protective Services (OPS). This process may take one (1) to 90 days. Once OPS receives the DOJ and FBI fingerprint report, OPS reviews the applicant's DMV record history.
- If all records are clear of criminal history and/or convictions, OPS generates a clearance letter and forwards it to the FMS provider. The applicant is then able to work.
- If there are violations and/or convictions on any of the records, the applicant must request an exemption in order to obtain clearance. The Department of Developmental Services must approve all exemptions before a provider can begin working. Some serious convictions are non-exemptible, including rape, murder, robbery, willful harm to a child or elder, and certain assault convictions. For more information on all disqualifying convictions, contact DDS.
- Both the DOJ and the FBI report subsequent arrests of cleared applicants to OPS.
More detailed information is available on the DOJ's website.