1. What is the difference between the National Child Protection Act (NCPA) and the Volunteers for Children Act?
Names you may hear that refer to the same federal law and its amendment are as follows: the National Child Protection Act, the Foley Act, and the Volunteers for Children Act. These laws are sometimes named for sponsors or persons who supported the new laws or amendments. For the purposes of the available criminal history information, these different names refer to the same basic law. Section 943.0542 of the 1999 Florida Statutes was enacted to implement this federal legislation.
2. On what legislation is the VECHS program based?
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement initiated the VECHS program in 1999, after the Florida Legislature enacted section 943.0542 of the Florida Statutes (1999). This statute is based upon the National Child Protection Act (NCPA), as amended. The federal guidelines for the NCPA offer further interpretations of the NCPA, along with mandates for states that choose to implement corresponding legislation and programs. The federal guidelines apply to the interpretation of our legislation in Florida, and therefore, to the implementation of the VECHS program.
Although FDLE desires to offer the broadest services and protection available under the authorizing legislation, we are not permitted to expand the parameters of the governing laws.
3. What is a “qualified entity”? Who can obtain criminal history record checks under the NCPA and section 943.0542, Florida Statutes?
To be qualified to participate in the VECHS program, an entity must provide some type of “care” or “care placement services” for children, the elderly, or the disabled, even if only as a limited part of the entity’s overall business. Once qualified to participate in the program, an entity may request criminal history information on all current and prospective employees and volunteers, not only those who work with vulnerable persons. A qualified entity may also request criminal history information on employees or volunteers who have or who seek to have unsupervised access to the populations described above.
“Qualified entities” are authorized to obtain criminal history record information as described under the NCPA and related federal guidelines. Under the NCPA and our Florida statute, a “qualified entity” is a business or organization, whether public, private, for profit, not-for-profit, or voluntary, that provides care or care placement services, including a business or organization that licenses or certifies others to provide care or care placement services. “Care” means the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction, supervision, or recreation to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities.
4. If I am now required to only obtain state criminal history record checks, can I request the additional national check through the VECHS program?
This program does not apply to those entities or persons currently required to have criminal history record checks under other statutory provisions. These entities and persons should continue to follow the statutory mandates that specifically apply to them. One exception to this might be for entities now required to obtain only state record checks on some or all of their employees or volunteers. If these entities wish to also obtain national record checks on the same employees or volunteers, the VECHS program may be able to assist by processing their required state checks, along with the national checks, through one system.
If an entity is required to obtain state and national checks on only specific types of employees or volunteers, the VECHS program may be able to process requests for state and national checks on the entity’s other employees or volunteers.
5. Who are considered “children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities” under the applicable laws and the VECHS program?
The term “child” means any unmarried person under 18 years of age, who has not been emancipated by order of the court. An “elderly person” is a person who is 60 years of age or older. “Individuals with disabilities” are persons with a mental or physical impairment who require assistance to perform one or more daily living tasks.
6. How can my organization become a qualified entity?
If you believe your business or organization meets the criteria of a “qualified entity”, you may download and complete a copy of the Qualified Entity Application and the User Agreement from http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/content/getdoc/9023f5ac-2c0c-465c-995c-f949db57d0dd/VECHS.aspx. Or you may contact the VECHS Unit at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at (850) 410-VECHS (850-410-8324), to request a copy of each document be mailed to you.
Your next step would be to complete the application, explaining what functions the entity performs that would serve children, elderly or disabled persons, and whether the requests for criminal history records would be for your entity’s employees or volunteers. You would then have an authorized representative of the entity sign the User Agreement, stating that your entity will abide by all laws, regulations, and instructions pertaining to this program, particularly that your entity will use the criminal history information supplied through the program only to screen your entity’s employees and volunteers.
When you have completed the Qualified Entity Application and User Agreement and obtained the necessary signatures from a representative of your entity, you will need to send the originals of both documents to the VECHS Unit. We will accept an initial faxed copy of both documents, to expedite the qualifying process. However, prior to forwarding fingerprint cards to your entity or processing any requests for criminal history record checks, we will need the original, signed application and agreement from your entity.
7. What happens once I submit my Qualified Entity Application and User Agreement?
FDLE staff will review the application. If it is determined that your organization meets the requirements, FDLE will provide you with:
•Instructions regarding how to submit the fingerprint cards and payments for the criminal history information.
•Fingerprint cards on which the employees or volunteers will have their fingerprints rolled.
•A Waiver form must be signed by the employee or volunteer.
8. If my entity is governmental and we currently obtain some state and national checks for certain employees, can we use our current ORI number to receive state and national criminal history checks on other employees or volunteers through the VECHS program?
No, you may not use any ORI Number you have been assigned previously to process your requests for record checks through the VECHS Program. Upon your approval to participate in the VECHS program, depending upon the volume of fingerprint cards you predict you will need, FDLE will either provide you with fingerprint cards preprinted with the VECHS Program ORI Number, or we will request the FBI to issue your agency a new ORI number and to mail you new fingerprint cards preprinted with this new number for your use with the VECHS Program.
9. If my organization is approved to participate in the VECHS program, will my organization be required to obtain criminal history record checks on my current or prospective employees and volunteers?
Participation in the VECHS program is strictly voluntary for those organizations that are not otherwise required to obtain criminal history record checks on their employees and volunteers. The NCPA does not replace the existing Florida statutes that mandate state and national criminal history record checks for employees of specified caretaker programs, which include, but are not limited to the following: school district instructional and non-instructional personnel; nursing home administrators and financial officers; and child care, substance abuse, mental health, and developmental service programs. If your organization is presently required to obtain criminal history checks on employees and/or volunteers, you must continue to do so under the applicable Florida law.
10. Is there a fee for this service?
Yes. There are both State and National fees associated with conducting background checks through VECHS. Electronic Fingerprint Submission by IDENTICO LLC is rated as $47.25 for volunteers and $54.25 for employees. Screening is made on live scan equipment.
11. What will I receive when I submit the request for criminal history check
If FDLE qualifies your entity to participate in the VECHS program, and your entity submits authorized requests and payment for criminal history record information to FDLE, FDLE/the FBI will provide either of the following to your entity, for each criminal history record request:
a) a notification that the individual as described the fingerprint card does not have a criminal history record; or
b) a copy of the individual’s criminal history record. In addition, FDLE will advise the entity if the individual is subject to a Florida warrant for arrest or a Florida Domestic Violence injunction and what agency has the warrant for injunction.
12. How long will it take me to get the results?
The NCPA requires FDLE and the FBI to make a reasonable effort to return your criminal history information within 15 business days. This does not include mail time. Currently, FDLE processes Florida record checks within approximately five or less business days from the date appropriate requests for criminal history record checks and payments are received. FDLE is constantly exploring alternative ways to reduce this turnaround time. Errors on the fingerprint cards or in the amount of the payment may require additional time to process the requests or may require the requests to be returned to your correction.
FDLE is able to obtain both state and national responses more quickly if the fingerprints are submitted in an automated form from a live scan device. These devices are expected to become more and more available to applicants over the next few years. They allow for the fingerprints to be sent immediately to FDLE. The FDLE and the FBI processing are completed in about three working days, at which time the customer can retrieve state and national results on the applicant.
13. How should my organization use the results of our requests for criminal history records check?
You will need to review the information to determine if there is any reason that the employee or volunteer should not be allowed to work with children, the elderly, or the disabled. If no criminal history record is found, you should not necessarily assume that there are no risks to employing or using the volunteer services of the individual. Simply stated, “no record” means that he or she does not have an arrest or conviction known to FDLE or the FBI. Other recommended practices would include checking former places of employment, conducting neighborhood interviews, obtaining information from local law enforcement agencies, and asking for more information from individual.
If the employee or volunteer has a criminal record, you should evaluate whether the individual should be permitted contact with children, the elderly, or the disabled. Neither the National Child Protection Act nor Florida law governing the VECHS program defines specific criteria to use during this evaluation of an entity’s employee or volunteer. Therefore, FDLE does not set specific criteria either.
Background screening by your organization may already be covered under other statutory provisions. Your organization will need to comply with all required screening criteria under these laws. If these laws apply to you, and if your organization should decide to disqualify an individual during the screening process the employee or volunteer may have a right to contest or request an exemption from the disqualification. Please consult with your legal representative for more advice on these provisions and how they apply to your organization.
The U.S. Department of Justice has published a document that might be helpful to your organization as you screen your current and prospective employees and volunteers: Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working with Children, the Elderly, and Individuals with Disabilities in need of support. (April 1998).
Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse (NCJRS)
P. O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Fax-on-Demand: 1-800-638-8736 (restrictions apply)
You may also exchange the results of your state and national criminal history record checks with those of other qualified entities, if the employee or volunteer has agreed to this in the Waiver form signed at the time of fingerprinting, and if youfollow specific procedures in recording the exchange of the information. This exchange of information, depending on its timeliness, may assist you and other qualified entities in reducing the costs of criminal history records checks on the same persons. It may also assist all qualified entities in screening out those employees or volunteers who should not be in contact with vulnerable individuals.
14. Can I get information from other qualified entities if they have already checked my employees and volunteers?
You may obtain criminal history information from other qualified entities, if the employee or volunteer agreed to this on the Waiver form required to be signed when he/she was fingerprinted, and if the transfer of information is recorded by the other qualified entity on its Dissemination Log. The restrictions on this process described in the User Agreement qualified entities must sign.
15. For what period of time should I rely on the criminal history record that I received on employee or volunteer?
The criminal history repository is a dynamic file with new arrests added daily and changes frequently. Currency of information is critical because the qualified entities will want to know about all arrests, no matter how recent. On the practical side, however, the qualified entities will not be able to request the criminal history information daily. Each qualified entity will have to determine how frequently its employees or volunteers need to be checked. The qualified entity will also need to determine whether criminal history information available from another qualified entity is too old to use for its screening purposes.
16. What if there is no disposition in the criminal history record showing what happened in court?
When the court disposition of a Florida arrest is sent to FDLE, it is added to the criminal history record. If there is an arrest in the Florida criminal history record of the employee or volunteer that does not reflect a court disposition, FDLE will not have any further information on that specific arrest. The qualified entity may determine if the nature of the arrest is something that it would be concerned about if the employee or volunteer were convicted. If the court disposition is important, the qualified entity may call the Clerk of Court in the county where the arrest took place. The Clerk will retrieve and provide the court disposition if one is available. There may be a charge for this service depending on which county you contact. FDLE has a list of phone numbers for Florida Clerk of Court. This will be provided to qualified entities.
When the court disposition on an arrest from another state is missing, the same process can be followed. FDLE, however, does not have a listing for all of the Clerks of Court or their equivalent in other states. If the qualified entity needs the court disposition in these cases, it will be necessary to work with the repository in the state of arrest or contact the court which heard the case.
17. Why aren’t sealed and expunged data returned to VECHS entities?
Florida law restricts the dissemination of sealed and expunged data to agencies and purposes outlined in the law itself. See s. 943.0585 (4)(a), Florida Statutes for more details.
18. Is it possible that VECHS agencies will be able to access criminal history records with terminals connected directly to FDLE?
VECHS entities are allowed to access criminal record information only after the submission of descriptive and fingerprint information on the employee or volunteer. There is no direct terminal access for this access. However, VECHS entities can submit the data from a “livescan” device which transfers the data electronically to FDLE and allows the electronic transfer of results in two or three working days.
19. Can I contact my local law enforcement to do VECHS check?
Law enforcement agencies are not authorized to conduct searches for VECHS entities through the Florida Crime Information Center. If they do so, the agency could be cut off and not allowed to access state or national criminal information systems. Local agencies may provide data from local systems. The only authorized way for the VECHS entity to obtain state or national criminal information is through the submission of fingerprint card or through approved live scan vendors.
20. How often will VECHS audits be performed?
There is not a scheduled time for VECHS audits. They will be scheduled periodically and a sample of agencies will be audited. Some audits may be conducted via a telephone interview, a letter asking specific questions or an on-site audit. When questions arise regarding the confidentiality or the security of information from a specific qualified entity, FDLE may conduct an audit of the entity to ensure the all provision in the user agreement are being enforced.
21. If I deny a person the opportunity to volunteer with or be employed by the qualified entity, may I give a copy of the FDLE and FBI criminal record to this applicant? What if the applicant indicated that record is incorrect?
If a person challenges his or her opportunity to volunteer or be employed, and the reason for the decision was based on criminal history results, the person can be shown the criminal history record after ensuring the identity of the requestor. If the challenge results in civil litigation, a copy of the record can be provided for the purpose of a hearing, but cannot be part of any record or file available to the public.
If the person believes his or her criminal record is in error, he or she may contact FDLE in correcting the record.
22. Does FDLE maintain the records of all arrests, including Notices to appear and direct files?
FDLE’s criminal record repository contains information on all arrested persons in Florida where the arresting agency submitted a fingerprint at the time of the arrest. For the most part, this means that all felony and serious misdemeanor arrests are available. However, if there was not an arrest but, rather, a Notice to Appear was issued or the State Attorney issued a Direct File, this information would not be “fingerprint based” and therefore not be contained in the criminal repository.
23. Does FDLE maintain a record of all criminal history records in the nation or just for the state of Florida?
The FDLE repository contains Florida arrest information only. Arrests by the federal government or another state are not included in the Florida repository. VECHS customers are eligible for the out-of-state criminal record information and will be provided it either directly from FBI or FDLE.
24. May VECHS fingerprints be submitted electronically from livescan device?
Live scan devices allow for fingerprint information to be sent to FDLE electronically which speeds up the entire process. The descriptive data on the applicant as well as the fingerprints are sent in electronically to FDLE. The state and national criminal record search results are packaged together for each applicant and are made available to the regulatory agency within two to three working days.
If your organization is a private school in need for criminal history search on staff and volunteers, or maybe background checks are required for your school in order to participate in scholarship programs, then VECHS program run by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is exactly what you need.
VECHS (Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System) program had been established by FDLE to assist with checking the background of persons who work or volunteer with children, the elderly, or the disabled under the National Child Protection Act (1993), as amended, and section 943.0542, Florida Statutes (1999). VECHS program is created for entities not required to obtain Level 2 background screening clearance according to statutory provision.
First of all contact The Florida Department of Education (DOE) Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice and verify who exactly in your organization is required to be fingerprinted. Next step is the enrollment into VECHS program and this is how you do it. Private schools are authorized to participate in FDLE’s Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) because of the service they offer to Children. VECHS is a voluntary program — however; under the provisions of Section 1002.421, F.S., private schools participating in scholarship programs must conduct criminal history record checks on employees and contracted personnel. Those criminal history checks will be conducted through the FDLE VECHS program.
Enrollment materials include the VECHS Application and User Agreement. Both of these documents must be submitted to FDLE via mail as they must be signed by the appropriate school authority. The forms may be printed from the internet, completed, signed and mailed to FDLE.FDLE will mail these forms to private schools upon request.
Here is the description of what is involved in screening process after your entity is signed up. You will be provided with a packet of information from the VECHS program. It will include:
A cover letter giving your account numbers to use. These are your Qualified Entity Numbers. One is for employees and contracted personnel and the other is for volunteers. While s. 1002.421, F.S. indicates that, in order to receive scholarship money, employees and contracted personnel must submit fingerprints, some schools may want to check volunteers as well. Using the volunteer entity number for checking volunteers will result in a reduced fee.
Forms and information for submitting fingerprints electronically. These forms are required regardless of whether your private school purchases a livescan device or if the employees and contracted personnel go to a “service provider” or another livescan device owner and have the fingerprints taken and submitted by this company.
Fingerprint cards and instructions on how to complete them. As of July 1, 2007, submissions for employees and contracted personnel must be made electronically. You have the choice of continuing to submit your volunteers via hard card fingerprint card or you can submit them electronically.
A Private Schools Waiver Agreement and Statement to be signed by each employee, contracted person or volunteer that you submit.
Contacts for criminal record repositories in other states which are useful in obtaining additional criminal history information.
Florida Clerks of Court and their contact information. This contact information may be needed when there is an arrest in Florida but the criminal record does not indicate whether the offender was convicted.
Instructions as to how a person can obtain his or her own criminal record for review and possible correction, which may be given to an employee, contracted person or volunteer.
A sample dissemination log which must be used if a private school shares criminal history information with another private school. Private schools may NOT share criminal history information with any VECHS entities except other private schools registered with VECHS. Private schools are the only VECHS entities authorized to receive sealed information and expunge notifications.
Similarly, private schools may not use criminal history results obtained for employees or contracted personnel for volunteers or vice versa. If a volunteer becomes an employee, that person’s fingerprints should be submitted again under the Employee Qualified Entity Number; the volunteer results should NOT be used to screen the candidate as an employee. Likewise, employee results should not be used to screen a person for a volunteer position. The rules for criminal history information sharing are included in the User Agreement, signed by all private schools participating in the VECHS program.
∗ Reminders of important provisions regarding the VECHS program.
∗ Fingerprint card submission checklist.
∗ Results definitions.
∗Instructions for procedures for “name‐based” searches from the FBI to be used when the subject’s fingerprints are rejected twice based on poor fingerprint quality.
Another question, what does the law mean when it says that fingerprints must be submitted electronically?
As of July 1, 2007, s. 1002.421, F.S. requires all fingerprint submissions for employees and contracted personnel be made electronically. Fingerprints submitted “electronically” are fingerprints taken on a “livescan” device and submitted electronically to FDLE. It can also include fingerprints taken with ink on a hard copy fingerprint card that are subsequently scanned and submitted electronically to FDLE. These electronic submissions are processed through FDLE’s Civil Workflow Control System.
Go ahead and ask, what is the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS)?
The Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS), pronounced “QUICKS”, is an automated system used to receive process and respond to electronic applicant submissions. Processing that once took several weeks with fingerprint cards now takes 24 – 72 hours with electronic submissions. CWCS allows different types of applicants to be scanned on a single device and allows input from a variety of livescan devices that adhere to FDLE and FBI standards and requirements.
Very natural question you may have, so what do I need to do to start submitting electronically?
∗ First, you must already be a registered VECHS entity.
∗ Second, you must complete the CWCS VECHS Customer Registration Form and return it to FDLE. Once the information is registered in our systems, you will receive an e‐mail notification that you can start submitting electronically.
∗ Third, you must make arrangement to be fingerprinted on a livescan device
You may ask where can I get fingerprinted on a livescan device and submit electronically.
Private schools have the following options in submitting fingerprints electronically:
∗ Purchase own livescan device. While the cost may be prohibitive it can be cost effective depending on the number of submissions necessary for your school.
∗ Use “service providers” like IDENTICO LLC to submit fingerprints electronically on your behalf.
∗ Inquire to other livescan device owners, such as local school boards, if they are willing to assist with your electronic submissions.
We know the biggest question you have, what are the costs associated with criminal history record checks for private school employees and contracted personnel?
The fee may vary from vendor to vendor, but certainly consider IDENTICO LLC as the most competitive livescan vendor with aggressive pricing. Our standard individual VECHS Employee screening rate is $54.25 and VECHS Volunteer screening rate is only $47.25. There are some discounts available for larger groups, and it worth to consider since there is no traveling fee for groups of 10 or more employees at single location. We’ll come to you and fingerprint all teachers and volunteers with convenience and efficiency you haven’t seen before.
So you paid for the screening and fingerprinting, and you want to know how would you receive and view the criminal history results after submitting electronically?
Criminal history results for electronic submissions are posted to FDLE’s secure mail application called “CertifiedMail”. Once the criminal history results are ready, the private school will receive an e‐mail notification, containing the link to the application. The viewing of criminal history results will occur within this secure application.
There are several more frequently asked questions on fingerprinting for private schools in Florida; therefore our further questions will be in FAQ format.
What is meant by “retention of applicant fingerprints for reverse searches” and “arrest hit notifications”?
Section 1002.421, F.S. instructs FDLE to retain fingerprints submitted by the private school on or after July 1, 2007. Incoming Florida arrest fingerprints are searched against these retained private school fingerprints. If a fingerprint match is made on an individual, FDLE notifies the private school that the employee or contracted person was arrested, and provides the name of the county where the arrest occurred as well as contact information for the arresting agency. It is important to note fingerprints submitted prior to July 1, 2007, were not retained
What are the fees associated with the retention of prints?
The fee for the retention of applicant fingerprints is $6 per year per applicant. The retention of the fingerprints eliminates the necessity to have a future state criminal history record recheck at a cost of $24, since all incoming Florida arrest information is continuously compared to the retained applicant database. If a recheck is required, it would only need to be for a national criminal history record check.
To whom may my private school release criminal history information?
With the permission of the applicant, the criminal history information may be shared with other private schools registered with VECHS. Each VECHS private school agrees to only release criminal history information after confirming with FDLE the private school to which they are releasing the information is a current, registered VECHS entity. Such dissemination of criminal history information must be logged by noting what record was released, to whom it was released, and on what date it was released. Also, private schools are required to release the criminal history information to the Department of Education personnel consistent with the applicant’s approval on the waiver form.
Are owners under the same requirements as private school employees and contracted personnel?
The provisions in s.1002.42(2)(c)1, F.S., were not changed. Private school owners must have fingerprints taken and sent to FDLE for a state‐level criminal history record check upon taking ownership. FDLE will return the state criminal record or an indication that there is not a state record to the school so that it can be made available for public inspection and sent by the school to DOE. The owner fingerprint submissions must be on a fingerprint card that clearly indicates, “State check only”.
The owner’s fingerprint submission may not be submitted with the VECHS account information. If state and national criminal record checks are required as a part of scholarship funding, the owner will have to submit under VECHS in addition to the State Level check defined in s.1002.42 (2)(c) 1 F.S.
Now let us explain the definition of the word Criminal History Background Check: The term “background check” has been used interchangeably with “criminal history check” or “criminal history background check” which has caused some confusion. From the FDLE perspective, a background check is a criminal history record check to determine if a person has been arrested and/or convicted of a crime. Although some companies use the phrase background check to include drivers record checks, credit checks, or interviews with neighbors and employers, for purposes of this paper, it includes the search of following databases:
∗ The Florida Computerized Criminal History Central Repository for Florida Arrests (STATE CHECK);
∗ The Florida Computerized Criminal History Central Repository for Florida arrests AND the national criminal history database at the FBI for federal arrests and arrests from other states (STATE AND NATIONAL CHECK)
∗ The Florida Crime Information Center for warrants and domestic violence injunctions (HOT FILES CHECK)
The national check is based on the submission of fingerprints. For State checks, submissions maybe based on a name (or descriptors) or fingerprints.
Level 1 and Level 2 Background checks: Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks are terms used in Florida Statutes to convey the method of the criminal record check and the extent of the data searched, however, the terms may also refer to certain disqualifying offenses if certain statutes are used as reference. Level 1 and Level 2 are terms that pertain only to Florida and are not used by the FBI or other states. They are defined in Chapter 435, F.S., but are used elsewhere in statute without definition and appear not to be associated with all of the provisions in chapter 435.
∗ Level 1 generally refers to state only name based check AND an employment history check
∗ Level 2 generally refers to a state and national fingerprint based check and consideration of disqualifying offenses, and applies to those employees designated by law as holding positions of responsibility or trust. Section 435.04, mandates that Level 2 background security investigations be conducted on employees, defined as individuals required by law to be fingerprinted pursuant to Chapter 435
It should be noted that both the state and national criminal history databases can be searched for arrests, warrants, and other information pertaining to an individual, however neither database has the capability of searching for specific offenses on an individual records
What is the difference between the National Child Protection Act and Volunteers for Children Act?
Names you may hear that refer to the same federal law and its amendment are as follows: the National Child Protection Act, the Foley Act, and the Volunteers for Children Act. These laws are sometimes named for sponsors or persons who supported the new laws or amendments. For the purposes of the available criminal history information, these different names refer to the same basic law. Section 943.0542 of the 1999 Florida Statutes was enacted to implement this Federal legislation.
On what legislation the VECHS program based?
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement initiated the VECHS program in 1999, after the Florida Legislature enacted section 943.0542 of the Florida Statutes (1999). This statute is based upon the National Child Protection Act (NCPA), as amended. The federal guidelines for the NCPA offer further interpretations of the NCPA, along with mandates for states that chose to implement corresponding legislation and programs.
The federal guidelines apply to the interpretation of our legislation in Florida, and therefore, to the implementation of the VECHS program. Although FDLE desires to offer the broadest services and protection available under the authorizing legislation, we are not permitted to expand the coverage of the governing laws.
Please visit http://www.myidentico.com/answers-to-all-frequently-asked-questions-about-vechs-program/ for more details on VECHS program.
As FDLE authorized live scan vendor IDENTICO LLC does everything possible to support children and student safety in the communities and schools. If you are the entity approved to use VECHS screening, please contact us with any questions or quote requests. We’ll do everything possible to keep the cost of services affordable and the quality above standards. Please call (954) 239-8590/ toll-free (888) 988-8969 or visit our official webpage for more information on all background screening and fingerprinting needs.
Florida House Bill CS/HB 5401 had amended the Florida Statute 39.821 regarding the qualifications of guardians ad litem in Florida.
(1) Because of the special trust or responsibility placed in a guardian ad litem, the Guardian Ad Litem Program may use any private funds collected by the program, or any state funds so designated, to conduct a security background investigation before certifying a volunteer to serve. A security background investigation must include, but need not be limited to, employment history checks, checks of references, local criminal history records checks through local law enforcement agencies, and statewide criminal history records checks through the Department of Law Enforcement. Upon request, an employer shall furnish a copy of the personnel record for the employee or former employee who is the subject of a security background investigation conducted under this section. The information contained in the personnel record may include, but need not be limited to, disciplinary matters and the reason why the employee was terminated from employment. An employer who releases a personnel record for purposes of a security background investigation is presumed to have acted in good faith and is not liable for information contained in the record without a showing that the employer maliciously falsified the record. A security background investigation conducted under this section must ensure that a person is not certified as a guardian ad litem if the person has an arrest awaiting final disposition for, been convicted of, regardless of adjudication, entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, or has been adjudicated delinquent and the record has not been sealed or expunged for, any offense prohibited under the provisions listed in s. 435.04. All applicants certified on or after July 1, 2010, must undergo a level 2 background screening pursuant to chapter 435 before being certified. In analyzing and evaluating the information obtained in the security background investigation, the program must give particular emphasis to past activities involving children, including, but not limited to, child-related criminal offenses or child abuse. The program has the sole discretion in determining whether to certify a person based on his or her security background investigation. The information collected pursuant to the security background investigation is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1).
If you represent the Guardian ad Litem program in South Florida and located in Miami, Broward, Palm Beach or Martin counties, please call IDENTICO LLC today, for office or mobile fingerprinting appointment. IDENTICO is FDLE approved Live Scan vendor, and we use electronic fingerprinting solutions in transmitting your fingerprints for FBI Level 2 Background Check so the results of screening are available in as less as 72 hours. The cost of screening is $41.25. Visit our official website www.myidentico.com or call us today (954) 239-8590 or (888) 988-8969.
We have an open door policy at our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021, however if you would like to schedule an appointment at certain time, please visit http://www.myidentico.com/hitappoint/ and we’ll serve you first regardless of any wait line.
The team of IDENTICO LLC.
Attention APD Providers,
On May 17, 2010, Governor Crist signed House Bill 7069 into law. This law substantially rewrites requirements and procedures for background screening of the persons and businesses that deal primarily with vulnerable populations, including all direct service providers screened pursuant to section 393.0655, Florida Statutes.
Key changes made by the bill:
• Prohibits any person required to be screened from beginning work until the screening process has been completed.
• Increases all Level 1 screening to Level 2 screening.
• Requires all fingerprints to be submitted through Livescan by July 1, 2012.
• Requires all direct service providers for Agency clients to complete Level 2 background screening.
• Adds additional crimes to the list of disqualifying offenses.
• Provides that any person who has been arrested for a disqualifying offense may not provide direct services to an agency client until final disposition of the alleged offense.
• Authorize agencies to request the retention of fingerprints by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
• Provides that an exemption for a disqualifying felony may not be granted until at least three years after the completion of all sentencing sanctions for that felony.
• Requires that all exemptions from disqualification be granted only by the agency head.
The following offenses were added to the list of disqualifying offenses for all persons screened pursuant to section 435.04, Florida Statute (F.S).
• (m) section 787.025; luring or enticing a child for an unlawful purpose
• (t) section 794.05; unlawful sexual activity with certain minors
• (y) section 810.02; burglary
• (z) section 810.14; voyeurism, if a felony
• (aa) section 810.145; video voyeurism, if a felony, and
• (uu) section 944.40; escape
In addition to the offenses added to 435.04, F.S., the following offenses have been added to the screening requirements of section 393.0655, F.S.:
• (c) section 409.920; relating to Medicaid provider fraud
• (d) section 409.921; relating to Medicaid fraud
• (e) section 817.034; relating to fraudulent acts through mail, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photooptical systems
• (f) section 817.234; relating to false and fraudulent insurance claims
• (g) section 817.505; relating to patient brokering
• (h) Section 817.568; relating to criminal use of personal identification information
• (i) section 817.60; relating to obtaining a credit card through fraudulent means
• (j) section 817.61; relating to fraudulent use of credit cards, if the offense was a felony
• (k) section 831.01; relating to forgery
• (l) section 831.02; relating to uttering forged instruments
• (m) section 831.07; relating to forging bank bills, checks, drafts, or promissory notes, and
• (n) section 831.09; relating to uttering forged bank bills, checks, drafts or promissory notes
Providers who are currently enrolled are not required to be rescreened until their 5-year rescreening or rescreening is required pursuant to section 393.0655, F.S., section 393.0657, F.S., or chapter 435, F.S. There is a strong possibility that employees and providers that have cleared background screening may present with prior offenses that are now disqualifying. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will coordinate with the Department of Children and Families to effectively deal with these issues.
This change in law takes effect August 1, 2010. If you have any questions or if we can be of any assistance, please contact IDENTICO LLC today. We are FDLE authorized live scan vendor with capacity to fingerprint APD providers in APD Area 15, APD Area 9, APD Area 10 and APD area 11. We work cooperatively with DCF background screening units and assist clients with any questions related to live scan fingerprinting, level 2 background checks and support in communication with DCF screeners.
Please contact us today by calling (954) 239-8590 or visit us online at www.myidentico.com. The fee for electronic fingerprinting for APD is only $80.00, just bring your ID and OCA number, and we’ll handle the rest.
Consumer Directed Care Plus (CDC+) is a Medicaid program in Florida that gives the consumer the opportunity to hire workers and vendors to help with daily needs such as housecleaning, cooking and getting dressed. Even family members or friends maybe be consumers’ paid workers.The CDC+ program is operated by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs with the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families as partners.
Currently, Florida has one of the largest vulnerable populations in the country with over 17% of the state’s citizens over the age of 65, and many children and disabled adults and DOEA provides some form of services to approximately 62,400 individuals age 60 and over. Enormous amount of cases when Florida senior and disabled adults have been beaten, neglected, and robbed by caregivers with criminal records pushed legislators to pass the Bill HB 7069 which became effective on August 1, 2010. And here are the changes in DOEA’s policies as the reflection of bill’s enactment:
•HB 7069 rewrote requirements for background screening of persons and businesses that deal primarily with vulnerable populations.
•HB 7069 increased all level I screenings to Level II for persons working with vulnerable populations such as the elderly, disabled adults and those with brain and spinal cord injuries.
•HB 7069 requires all Level II fingerprints to be submitted electronically by August 1, 2012. However, DOEA is being proactive and is meeting this requirement effective August 1, 2010.
•Another thing HB 7069 did was add a number of serious crimes to the list of disqualifying offenses. In other words, persons committing serious crimes that were previously not considered disqualifying offenses, now will be unable to be a CDC+ employee or a representative if they’ve committed a number of additional disqualifying offenses.
•Requires all fingerprints to be submitted electronically by August 1, 2012 for Level 2 Background Screening both with FDLE and FBI
•HB 7069 authorized agencies to request retention of fingerprints by FDLE.
•Each agency will review and approve/deny their own exemption requests – this means that DOEA, DCF, AHCA, and DOH will be responsible for Level II screening, and if applicable, exemption reviews, for CDC+ clients served through their respective agencies
•Level II Fingerprint-based search of FDLE and FBI databases for STATE and NATIONAL criminal arrest records becomes a standard.Level II screens offer a greater level of protection for the vulnerable people.
•Applicants will take fingerprints through the use of “livescan” device that digitally takes their fingerprints – so there is no ink used as with regular fingerprinting. The prints are then securely submitted to FDLE and then forwarded to the FBI for a NATIONAL check. The results from both the FDLE and FBI are sent to the agency within 2 or 3 days.
•FDLE maintains a list of authorized Livescan service providers on their Web site
•DOEA – Application for Exemption. In order for an applicant to be eligible to apply for an exemption they must meet the eligibility requirements which are:
-For disqualifying felonies, at least three years must have passed since release from confinement, supervision, or sanction prior to applying for the exemption.
-For juvenile delinquency offenses that would be felonies if committed by an adult, for which the record has not been sealed or expunged, at least three years must have passed since release from confinement, supervision, or sanction.
-For offenses that were felonies when committed but are now misdemeanors, you must have been released from confinement, supervision, or sanction prior .
-For disqualifying misdemeanors, you must have been released from confinement, supervision, or sanction.
•DOEA Background Screen Exemption Review Committee meets and reviews all applications for exemption from disqualification
-The Exemption Review Committee will be comprised of 2 CDC+ staff members and an attorney from the DOEA General Counsel’s office.
-The committee will review the initial report prepared by the Background Screen Coordinator.
-The committee may have a telephone conference with the applicant if they have questions or require additional information
-The committee will vote on the application and a unanimous recommendation will be prepared for the DOEA Secretary, the Secretary will either approve the application or deny it. The Secretary’s decision is final.
For readers convenience we are posting the CDC+ program background screening and exemptions forms for download:
Download: DOEA Affidavit of Good Moral Character
Download: DOEA Providers Attestation Form
In order to get fingerprinted as part of DOEA’s CDC Plus program requirement please contact IDENTICO LLC today. We are FDLE approved Live Scan vendor, and we electronically transmit your fingerprints for FBI Level 2 Background Check so DOEA gets the results of screening in as less as 72 hours. The cost of screening is $62. Visit our official website www.myidentico.com or call us today (954) 239-8590 or toll free (888) 988-8969.
We have an open door policy at our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021, however if you would like to schedule an appointment at certain time, please visit http://www.myidentico.com/hitappoint/ and we’ll serve you first regardless of any wait line.
The team of IDENTICO LLC
DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS
Emergency Rule No.: RULE TITLE 58ER10-2: Background Screening Requirements.
SPECIFIC REASONS FOR FINDING AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE:
The Florida Legislature passed Chapter 2010-114, Laws of Florida (L.O.F.), during the 2010 legislative session. This new law requires that effective August 1, 2010, all individuals seeking employment or volunteerism, which will require direct contact with individuals receiving services under the jurisdiction of the DOEA, must undergo a Level 2 background screening prior to employment or volunteerism. The Department is publishing this emergency rule to protect the health, safety and welfare of its recipients, thus eliminating the threat of immediate danger by reducing the potential for physical, mental or sexual abuse, or financial exploitation.
REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE PROCEDURE IS FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: This emergency rule establishes criteria for complying with Level 2 background screening requirements pursuant to Chapter 2010-114, L.O.F., and more specifically, pursuant to Sections 430.0402 and 435.01(2), F.S., the later section which provides rulemaking authority to individual agencies affected by the new background screening requirements. In addition, Section 430.08, F.S., provides the DOEA with rulemaking authority to establish rules to implement the provisions of Chapter 430, F.S. The DOEA has been unable to complete the rulemaking process. Consequently, the DOEA finds it necessary to publish this emergency rule to continue to protect the health, safety and welfare of recipients while continuing with the rulemaking process.
SUMMARY: This emergency rule establishes criteria and procedures for complying with the new requirement of a Level 2 background screening for all potential employees, who will have direct contact with Department recipients, prior to employment or volunteerism.
THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: Jim Crochet, Department of Elder Affairs, Office of the General Counsel, 4040 Esplanade Way, Suite 315, Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000; telephone (850) 414-2113; Email address: email@example.com.
THE FULL TEXT OF THE EMERGENCY RULE IS:
58ER10-2 Background Screening Requirements.
In addition to the term “direct service provider,” as defined in Section 430.0402(1)(b), F.S., the following definitions are included in this rule:
(a) “AHCA” means the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
(b) “APD” means the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
(c) “CDC+” means the Consumer Directed Care Plus Program as described in Section 409.221, F.S.
(d) “Disqualifying Offense” means any criminal offense prohibited in Section 430.0402 or 435.04, F.S.
(e) “DOEA” or “Department” means the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
(f) “DOH” means the Florida Department of Health.
(g) “FBI” means the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(h) “FDLE” means the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
(i) “Level 1 Screening” means an assessment of employment history checks, statewide criminal correspondence checks, local criminal history checks and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website coordinated through FDLE to determine whether screened individuals have any disqualifying offenses pursuant to Section 430.0402 or 435.04, F.S.
(j) “Level 2 Screening” means an assessment of the criminal history record obtained through a fingerprint search coordinated through FDLE and the FBI to determine whether screened individuals have any disqualifying offenses pursuant to Section 430.0402 or 435.04, F.S.
(k) “Livescan” means both the technique and the technology used by law enforcement agencies and private facilities to capture fingerprints and palm prints electronically, without the need for the more traditional method of ink and paper.
(2) BACKGROUND SCREENING REQUIREMENTS.
Pursuant to Section 430.0402(1)(a), F.S., Level 2 background screening consistent with the requirements of Chapter 435, F.S., is required for all direct service providers as defined in Section 430.0402(1)(b), F.S.
(3) IMPLEMENTATION AND RETENTION.
Pursuant to Section 430.0402, F.S., beginning August 1, 2010, the following is required:
(a) All newly-hired direct service providers shall be required to undergo a Level 2 background screening pursuant to Chapter 435 as a condition of employment or volunteerism and continued employment or volunteerism. Such screening shall ensure that a direct service provider has not been arrested awaiting final disposition of, has been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, or has been adjudicated delinquent and the record has not been sealed or expunged for, any offense prohibited under Sections 430.0402, 435.03 or 435.04, F.S., or a similar law of another jurisdiction.
(b) Employers of direct service providers, who have not been previously screened according to the screening standards of Chapter 435, F.S., must ensure that at least twenty percent (20%) of the available population of such individuals are screened pursuant to the Level 2 screening standards of Chapter 435, F.S., within 120 calendar days of August 1, 2010, and an additional twenty percent (20%) every 90 calendar days thereafter, until all direct service providers have successfully satisfied the screening standards of Section 430.0402, F.S., and Chapter 435, F.S., or have applied for and received an exemption pursuant to Section 435.07, F.S. Employers with fewer than 5 direct service providers must ensure that all such direct service providers are screened within the initial 120 calendar day window after August 1, 2010.
(c) Employers of direct service providers are responsible for ensuring applicant fingerprints are retained by FDLE in the Applicant Fingerprint Retention and Notification Program, whereby notification is automatically sent to the Department’s Background Screening Coordinator, according to the procedures specified in Section 943.05, F.S., in the event of a direct service provider’s subsequent arrest.
(d) Employers of direct service providers, who previously qualified for employment or volunteer work under Level 1 screening standards, and individuals required to be screened according to the Level 2 screening standards contained in Chapter 435, F.S., and Section 430.0402, F.S., shall be required to be rescreened every 5 years from the date of their last background screening or exemption, unless such individual’s fingerprints are continuously retained and monitored by FDLE in the Applicant Fingerprint Retention and Notification Program, according to the procedures specified in Section 943.05, F.S.
The following are exceptions to the background screening requirements specified in this rule:
(a) Physicians, nurses, or other professionals licensed by DOH are not subject to the background screening requirements of Chapter 435, F.S, if they are providing a service that is within the scope of their licensed practice.
(b) Individuals qualified for employment by AHCA pursuant to that Agency’s background screening standards for licensure or employment contained in Section 408.809, F.S., are not subject to subsequent or additional Level 2 background screening pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S., or the unique screening requirements of Section 430.0402, F.S., by virtue of their employment as a direct service provider, if they are providing a service that is within the scope of their licensed practice.
(c) Individuals qualified for employment by APD pursuant to that Agency’s background screening standards contained in Section 393.0655, F.S., are not subject to subsequent or additional Level 2 background screening pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S., or the unique screening requirements of Section 430.0402, F.S., by virtue of their employment as a direct service provider as defined in Section 393.063(11), F.S.
(d) Back-up providers, who render services to consumers enrolled in the CDC+ program, are considered to be the same as full-time providers, as defined in Section 409.221(c)5., F.S. Consequently, they are not considered to be unemployed for more than 90 days pursuant to Section 409.221(4)(h)2.(i), F.S., if they have not been called to render back-up services for a period exceeding 90 days.
(5) ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION OF FINGERPRINTS.
Beginning August 1, 2010, fingerprints submitted pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S., must be submitted electronically to FDLE, pursuant to paragraph (3)(c) of this rule.
(6) BACKGROUND SCREENERS.
One of the entities listed in the subsections below may be utilized for Level 2 background screening as long as the entity verifies in writing to the employer that all background screeners performing electronic fingerprinting meet the requirements of Section 435.04(1)(c), F.S., and have been subject to, and passed, a Level 1 background screening under the standards set forth in Chapter 435, F.S.
(a) Any screening company listed on the FDLE website as authorized to perform Level 2 LiveScan background screenings. The website address is: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/04833e12-3fc6-4c03-9993-379244e0da50/livescan.aspx.
(b) Any local law enforcement capable of performing Level 2 Livescan background screenings, provided the equipment and electronic fingerprint data submission have been evaluated by FDLE to verify compliance with both FDLE and FBI regulations and standards.
(7) SHARING OF SCREENING RESULTS.
The information that a particular direct service provider has successfully passed a Level 2 background screening may be shared among DOEA programs and providers. In addition, passage of a Level 2 background screening for one program or provider shall constitute passage for all programs and providers. However, the use of a Level 2 background screening by a subsequent program or provider shall not affect the applicable date for rescreening pursuant to paragraph (3)(d) of this rule, if any. No information other than the fact that the applicant passed Level 2 screening may be shared.
Rulemaking Authority 430.08, 435.01(2) FS. Law Implemented 430.0402, 435.01, 435.02, 435.03, 435.04, 435.06, 435.07 FS. History–New_11-1-10, Supersedes 58ER10-1.
THIS RULE TAKES EFFECT UPON BEING FILED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNLESS A LATER TIME AND DATE IS SPECIFIED IN THE RULE. EFFECTIVE DATE: November 1, 2010
In order to get fingerprinted as part of DOEA requirement for Direct Service Providers’ Background Screening please contact IDENTICO LLC today. We are FDLE approved Live Scan vendor, and we transmit your fingerprints for FBI Level 2 Background Check so DOEA gets the results of screening in as less as 72 hours. The cost of screening is $62. Visit our official website www.myidentico.com or call us today (954) 239-8590.
We have an open door policy at our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021, however if you would like to schedule an appointment at certain time, please visit http://www.myidentico.com/hitappoint/ and we’ll serve you first regardless of any wait line.
All Level 2 screening requests by AHCA must be submitted electronically. The Agency will no longer process Level 1 or Level 2 screening requests or fees after July 31, 2010. Any Level 1 or Level 2 screening request and fees submitted to the Agency’s Background Screening Section after July 31, 2010 will be returned to the sender unprocessed.
Forms of “electronic screening:”
LiveScan device is a term used to describe the scanners used to directly capture fingerprints through a scanning function. Person being screened place their hands directly on the scanner for reading. Fingerprint scanning using a LiveScan device provides faster results and generally costs less that hard card scanning as there is less handling involved. LiveScan capture also produces a better quality print, so has a lower rejection rate of illegible prints (no ink smudging, etc).
LiveScan options – There are several options for LiveScan capture including:
- LiveScan vendors approved to submit fingerprint requests through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE ). These vendors generally require advanced online reservations or appointments and charge a fee for use of the LiveScan in addition to the FDLE screening fee of $43.25. LiveScan devices are either available at specific locations or through mobile services where the vendor will either come to the provider location (based on certain volumes and fees) or another pre-arranged location. LiveScan vendors are independent businesses and each must be contacted in advance to determine fees, services and enrollment requirements. For more information regarding LiveScan vendors please see Florida LiveScan Vendor List for contact information, locations and pricing, and the FDLE LiveScan Site.
- LiveScan devices (machines) may be purchased/leased by providers who wish to handle their own fingerprint capture. Several business offer machines (sale or lease) however, it is important to assure that any selection is approved for submission through FDLE and all requirements of fingerprint submission are met. For more information visit the FDLE LiveScan Site or the AHCA Cogent contract (Option 1 or Option 2).
Hard card scanning is a method of submitting a traditional fingerprint card where finger prints are “rolled’ in ink onto an FBI fingerprint card. Cards may be converted to “electronic” by using a machine that scans the cards. There is typically a fee associated with “rolling the prints” as a high degree of skill is required to achieve the necessary quality. Hard cards for AHCA screening must be obtained from AHCA because they must include the pre-printed AHCA ORI# to assure results are returned appropriately.
First of all, what is the Health Care Clinic in Florida?
“Clinic” means an entity at which health care services are provided to individuals and which tenders charges for reimbursement for such services, including a mobile clinic and a portable equipment provider. “Mobile clinic” means a movable or detached self-contained health care unit within or from which direct health care services are provided to individuals and which otherwise meets the definition of a clinic. “Portable equipment provider” means an entity that contracts with or employs persons to provide portable equipment to multiple locations performing treatment or diagnostic testing of individuals that bills third-party payers for those services, and that otherwise meets the definition of a clinic.
The licensing of Health Care Clinics is regulated by AHCA, Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.
The Level 2 Background Check for Health Care Clinics is required by AHCA and based on F.S. 400.991. Statute says that the agency shall require level 2 background screening for applicants and personnel of Health Care Clinic as required in s. 408.809(1)(e) pursuant to chapter 435 and s. 408.809.
Owner, Administrator, Financial Officer, Employees and Contractors Providing Personal Care or Services, Employees that have access to client property, funds or living areas must obtain the level 2 background screening clearance from AHCA for employment in Health Care Clinics.
The Legislature recognizes that there is a need to require the fingerprint based background check for the staff and administration of Health Care Clinics in Florida. Therefore, the Legislature deems it necessary in the interest of the public health to screen the staff of Health Care Clinics in this state.
If the Health Care Clinic where you work or manage is located in Miami, Broward, Palm Beach or Martin counties, please call IDENTICO today, for in office or mobile unit appointment. IDENTICO is FDLE approved Live Scan vendor, and we use electronic fingerprinting solutions in transmitting your fingerprints for FBI Level 2 Background Check and AHCA will get the results of screening in as less as 72 hours. The cost of screening is $80.00. Visit our official website www.myidentico.com or call us today (954) 239-8590. We have an open door policy at our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021, however if you would like to schedule an appointment at certain time, please visit http://www.myidentico.com/hitappoint/ and we’ll serve you first regardless of any wait line.