VECHS Program

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

Phone: 1-800-638-8736

Fax-on-Demand: 1-800-638-8736 (restrictions apply)

Online: www.ncjrs.org/ojjhome.htt

 

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.

We have been fingerprinting the staff in several recreation centers and municipalities throughout the South Florida. Employed and Volunteering athletic coaches were among the individuals we screened for Level II clearance. For general view and considerations we elected to post the law on required screening for athletic coaches in Florida.

Florida Statute 943.0438 Athletic coaches for independent sanctioning authorities.—

 

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Athletic coach” means a person who:

 

1. Is authorized by an independent sanctioning authority to work for 20 or more hours within a calendar year, whether for compensation or as a volunteer, for a youth athletic team based in this state; and

2. Has direct contact with one or more minors on the youth athletic team.

 

(b) “Independent sanctioning authority” means a private, nongovernmental entity that organizes, operates, or coordinates a youth athletic team in this state if the team includes one or more minors and is not affiliated with a private school as defined in s. 1002.01.

(2) An independent sanctioning authority shall:

 

(a)1. Conduct a background screening of each current and prospective athletic coach. No person shall be authorized by the independent sanctioning authority to act as an athletic coach after July 1, 2010, unless a background screening has been conducted and did not result in disqualification under paragraph (b). background screenings shall be conducted annually for each athletic coach. For purposes of this section, a background screening shall be conducted with a search of the athletic coach’s name or other identifying information against state and federal registries of sexual predators and sexual offenders, which are available to the public on Internet sites provided by:

 

a. The Department of Law Enforcement under s. 943.043; and

b. The Attorney General of the United States under 42 U.S.C. s. 16920.

 

2. For purposes of this section, a background screening conducted by a commercial consumer reporting agency in compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act using the identifying information referenced in subparagraph 1. and that includes searching that information against the sexual predator and sexual offender Internet sites listed in sub-subparagraphs 1.a. and b. shall be deemed in compliance with the requirements of this section.

 

(b) Disqualify any person from acting as an athletic coach if he or she is identified on a registry described in paragraph (a).

(c) Provide, within 7 business days following the background screening under paragraph (a), written notice to a person disqualified under this section advising the person of the results and of his or her disqualification.

(d) Maintain documentation of:

 

1. The results for each person screened under paragraph (a); and

2. The written notice of disqualification provided to each person under paragraph (c).

 

(3) In a civil action for the death of, or injury or damage to, a third person caused by the intentional tort of an athletic coach that relates to alleged sexual misconduct by the athletic coach, there is a rebuttable presumption that the independent sanctioning authority was not negligent in authorizing the athletic coach if the authority complied with the background screening and disqualification requirements of subsection (2) prior to such authorization.

(4) The Legislature encourages independent sanctioning authorities for youth athletic teams to participate in the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System, as authorized by the National Child Protection Act of 1993 and s. 943.0542.

Most commonly athletic coaches are screened through FDLE’s VECHS program, and in few cases cities had used own ORI numbers. If the community or recreational organization where you work or volunteer needs the proper background screening for coaches and volunteers, please contact IDENTICO today with all livescan fingerprinting or drug screening needs.

 

IDENTICO LLC is FDLE authorized Live Scan vendor serving South Florida.  With any question related to Level 2 background screening please call us at (954) 239-8590 or visit us online at www.myidentico.com for more information. We provide mobile fingerprinting services and would come to your facility to fingerprint any size groups. Visit our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021 for all fingerprinting, background screening or drug testing needs.

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

IDENTICO LLC.

You have heard about mobile fingerprinting services, but not sure if this service is effective or applicable to your personal or business situation. IDENTICO LLC is FDLE approved live scan vendor with ability to serve your organization with mobile unit, at your location and at your convenience. We are not reading your mind, but if you need to complete any of the followings, then you need to contact us today:

 

  • You or your staff are required to get fingerprinted on live scan equipment in order to be compliant with AHCA, DCF, Department of Elderly Affairs, Medicaid Provider Services or VECHS requirement on background screening
  • You believe that it will be great if live scan fingerprinting company will come to your location and conducts a level 2 background check on all employees in one session
  • You are located and need  fingerprinting in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Martin County and thinking about getting fingerprinted ASAP
  • You found out that IDENTICO doesn’t charge a traveling fee if there are 10 or more individuals to be fingerprinted at single location, but even if there are less than 10 people the traveling fee can be as less as $14
  • Don’t be surprise to find out, that our Mobile Fingerprinting unit can fingerprint up-to 85 persons/ day in one single session
  • And most importantly here is the schedule of fee for live scan submissions as well as printing on hard copy fingerprint cards:

 

–  AHCA (Agency for Healthcare Administration) Level 2 Live Scan Background Screening includes all healthcare providers – $80.00/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

–  DCF (Department of Children and Families) Level 2 Live Scan Background Screening. For personnel in Childcare, Mental Health, Developmentally Disabled Care, and Summer Camp programs- $62.00/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee. Consumer must present a valid OCA# number issued by regional DCF office.

 

–  APD (Agency for Persons with Disabilities) Level 2 Live Scan Background Screening, including CDC+, Medicaid Waiver, Support Coordinators and Group Homes$80.00/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee. Consumer must present a valid OCA# number issued by regional DCF office.

 

–  DOEA (Department of Elderly Affairs) Level 2 Live Scan Background Screening for Aging Network Providers & Volunteers, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Volunteers- $62/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

–  DBPR (Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations). Level 2 Live Scan Background Screening for Real Estate Sales and Brokers, Real Estate Appraisers, General Contractor, Community Association Managers, Alcoholic, Beverages and Tobacco, Home Inspectors, Mold Remediation or Assessment, Talent Agents, Athlete Agents, Employee Leasing, Slot Machine, Yacht and ship brokers License Applicants-$54.25/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

–  DOACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) Division of Licensing, Security and Firearm (D & G) License, Private Investigator (C or CC License), Pawn broker, and all other F.S. 493 applicants- $48.25/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

–  DHSMV (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) Level 2 Live Scan Background Screening for Motor vehicle, mobile home and recreational vehicle dealers’ licensees, Commercial driving school instructors, agents and employees- $57.25/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

–  Legal Name Change Petitioners in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County Courts • FDLE criminal history expunction or sealing- $54.25/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

VECHS (Volunteer & Employee Criminal History System) for qualified entities providing some type of “care” or “care placement services” for children, the elderly or the disabled- $47.25/Person for Volunteers and $54.25/person for Employees, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

-FBI criminal history checks for out of country Immigration or legal matters requiring fingerprinting-12$ for hard copy fingerprinting.

 

– Public and Private School Employees and Contractors. Consumer must present a valid ORI#, OCA# or VECHS number. Fees may vary, please contact us for accurate quote.

 

-Professional and Non-Professional Guardian Program in Dade-Broward-Palm Beach- $54.25/Person, Includes State & Federal Fees, Taxes, IDENTICO Processing fee.

 

– Standard FBI Applicant fingerprint card (FD-258) fingerprinting for Federal and State Banking/Investment permits/licenses- 15$ for hard copy fingerprinting.

 

For more information or to schedule your appointment please contact us today at (954) 239-8590 or visit our official website www.myidentico.com, for more information. Our office is located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021, and if you decide to use our in office services feel free to visit us. We have an open-door no appointment is required policy, 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.

 

Sincerely,

IDENTICO LLC.

We have been fingerprinting the Practical Nursing and Health Science students for colleges and universities located in South Florida. Student have been questioning us on the reason for such screening. We made an investigative research and would like to post it for public view and consideration.

 

1. In accordance with  standard/requirement of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), students enrolled in any health science program that requires a clinical experience in a hospital or other health care facility must submit to a level II criminal background check, a drug screening test, and Hospital Corporation of America requirements. The same requirements pertain to students who apply for entrance into a health science program.


In adherence to this new JCAHO mandate, all current and future health science students must obtain a level II criminal background check, a drug-screening test, and Hospital Corporation of America requirements. The student is responsible for paying the costs for each test. The results of said tests may require the College to withdraw the student from the program. This action is necessary due to the student’s inability to access clinical facilities for training purposes required as a part of the instructional program.

 

Per Joint Commission the staff, students and volunteers who work in the same capacity as staff who provide care, treatment, and services, would be expected to have criminal background checks  verified when required by law and regulation and organization policy.

 

This means that if state law, regulation or organization policy requires background checks on all employees, volunteers and students, Joint Commission expects them to be done on all three categories.

 

If state law requires background checks on only specified types of health care providers (e.g. nursing assistants/child care workers), then Joint Commission would require background checks on only those specified in state law (unless organization policy goes beyond state law).

 

If state law requires background checks on all “employees”, the organization should seek an opinion from the state on what categories of health care workers are considered “employees”.

 

If the state clearly does not consider volunteers or students to be employees, then Joint Commission would not require background checks on them (unless organization policy goes beyond state law and requires it).

 

If state law is ambiguous as to the definition of employee, the organization can define the scope of background checks to fit its own definition.  As such, they may include or exclude students and volunteers, and Joint Commission would survey to hospital policy.

 

In the absence of a state law on criminal background checks, each organization can develop its own expectations, e.g., and organization elects to screen employees and not students/volunteers.  Joint Commission would evaluate compliance with the organization’s internal policy only.  There would be no Joint Commission expectation that an organization check categories of providers beyond what is required in their own policy, which must comply with law and regulation. All criminal background checks must be documented by the organization.

 

If you are a student who is required to undergo the level 2 background screening, please confirm with your college whether they require a screening to be done through VECHS program or the health care provider for you clinical practice is requiring the AHCA background screening clearance. In both cases we can help, please provide us with VECHS Waiver Agreement form with you institution’s VECHS number on it, or ask what AHCA number needs to be used with electronic fingerprint submission.

 

If you are an educational institution seeking for the vendor for students’ background screening, please contact us for cost effective and quality live scan fingerprinting solutions. IDENTICO is known to be the most professional live scan vendor in South Florida, and we’ll be happy to work on your inquiries.

 

In order to get fingerprinted as part of your admission into limited access health science programs please contact IDENTICO LLC today. We are FDLE approved Live Scan vendor, and we transmit your fingerprints for FBI Level 2 Background Check so the requesting organization receives the results of screening in as less as 72 hours. The cost of Level 2 screening as VECHS Volunteer is $47.25. The cost of screening for AHCA Level2 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.

 

Sincerely,

The team of IDENTICO LLC

The chief compliant officer for one of the Florida’s largest Health Care networks contacted us and requested more information about options on how hospital staff can be fingerprinted as part of Level 2 Background Screening.

 

Currently the Level 2 Background Clearance is required by AHCA only for hospital staff working within mental health or psychiatric units, hospitals’ CEO and CFO. However, we wanted to provide our potential client with all possible options, especially counting that network includes several children’s hospitals and NICU units.

 

The Letter

Dear, South Florida’s Leading Health Care Network.

We wanted to make a sufficiently broad research, including advice from a legal consultant before we responded with set of solutions IDENTICO may offer to your organization which includes numerous hospitals.

The answers were in FAQ format, and we decided to share it will all readers who may find these solutions interesting and appropriate for own healthcare facility.

 

1.      What does Level 2 Background Check refers to?

 

Level 2 Background Check is the term used in Florida Statutes to convey the method of the criminal history record check and the extent of the data searched. However, the terms may also refer to certain disqualifying offenses if certain statutes are referenced. Level 2 is the term that pertains only to Florida and is not used by the FBI or other states. They are defined in Chapter 435, Florida Statutes (F.S.), but are used elsewhere in statute without definition and appear not to be associated with all of the provisions in Chapter 435, F.S.

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, F.S., mandates Level 2 security background investigations are conducted on employees, defined as individuals required by law to be fingerprinted pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S.

 

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 within an individual record.

 

2.      Is there a presumption against negligent hiring when an employer conducts a background investigation of a prospective employee?

 

Yes. Pursuant to Section 768.096, F.S., in the case of an intentional tort, an employer is presumed not to have been negligent in hiring an employee if before hiring the employee, the employer conducted a background investigation of the prospective employee and the information did not reveal any information that reasonably demonstrated unsuitability of the prospective employee for the work to be performed or for general employment. The background investigation must include a criminal background investigation.

The statute specifically provides if an employer requests and obtains from FDLE a state criminal history record check; the employer has satisfied the criminal background investigation requirement for the presumption.

 

3.      What are the requirements for a national criminal history record check?

 

National Check: The following must be in place, as required by the FBI, to receive a national criminal history record check:

 

  • A statute must exist as a result of a legislative enactment;
  • It must require the fingerprinting of applicants who are subject to a national criminal history record check;
  • It must expressly (“submit to the FBI”) or by implication (“submit for a national check”) authorize the use of FBI records for the screening of applicants;
  • It must identify the specific category(ies) of licensees/employees falling within its authority;
  • It must not be against public policy;
  • It may not authorize receipt of the criminal history record information by a private entity;
  • The recipient of the criminal history record check results must be a governmental entity;
  • The entity must sign a User Agreement indicating it will comply with the terms and conditions set forth in rule by the FBI; and
  • The fingerprint submission must be first processed through the state repository for a search of its records.

 

4.      What information from a state and national criminal history background check can be disclosed to a private employer?

 

Pursuant to federal law, regulatory and employing agencies may not share any information obtained from a state and national criminal history record check with a private entity. However, these agencies can indicate whether or not the person is eligible for licensing or employment based on their established criteria. Prior to being granted access to the records, authorized agencies must sign a Criminal Justice or Non-Criminal Justice User Agreement with FDLE agreeing to abide by state and federal law.

 

5.      Can a copy of the FDLE and FBI criminal record be provided to applicants if they are denied employment, licensing, or the opportunity to volunteer?

 

Yes. Applicants may be shown their own criminal record. A copy may also be provided, however, applicants must be cautioned the record may not be used for any other purpose. Applicants are not allowed to provide a copy of the record to any other organization.

 

6.      Is sealed or expunged information released as part of a criminal history record check?

 

Sealed information is disseminated only to those agencies authorized by provisions in Section 943.059, F.S. Agencies not specified in the statutes are not provided sealed criminal history information. Expunged criminal history information is not disseminated. However, a notification that a record has been expunged is provided to agencies consistent with provisions in Section 943.0585, F.S. Agencies not specified in the statutes are not provided the expunged notification.

 

7.      If a state and national criminal history record check is conducted, is it necessary to conduct a separate check of the sex offender registry for registered sex offenders?

 

No. If the state and national fingerprint based criminal his story record check is completed, the agency will be notified of all persons designated as sexual predators or offenders in Florida and in the national system.

 

8.      What is the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS)?

 

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) developed the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS). CWCS, pronounced “QUICKS”, is an automated system used to receive, process and respond to electronic requests for applicant criminal history record checks. Processing that once took several weeks with fingerprint cards now takes 24 to 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.

 

9.      How long does it take to complete a state and national criminal history record check when fingerprints are submitted electronically?

 

Typically, state and national criminal history record checks are completed within two to three working days of receiving the electronic submission. When a transaction is complete within the CWCS system, the results are posted to Certified Mail, a secure FDLE web mail application. The results will include both state and national criminal history information, as well as any warrants and other information related to the individual.

 

A result notification email is sent to the email address designated by the customer and will contain a link to this Certified Mail application. This notification will also contain descriptive information specific to the transaction.

 

10.  When can a non-governmental agency receive the results of a state and national background check?

 

Non-governmental entities are not authorized to receive both state and national criminal history information under statutory licensing and employment provisions. The only time non-governmental entities are eligible to obtain national criminal history information is through the VECHS program.

 

11.  What is the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) program?

 

The VECHS program allows for qualified entities to obtain state and national criminal history record checks on individuals working with children, the elderly or the disabled.

 

12.  What is a “qualified entity”? Who can obtain criminal history background checks under the VECHS and Section 943.0542, Florida Statutes?

 

To qualify for the VECHS Program, an entity must provide some type of “care” or “care placement services” for children, the elderly or the disabled; even if it is only 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 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.

 

13.  How does an organization enroll in the VECHS program?

 

If an entity meets the criteria of a “qualified entity”, they may download and complete a copy of the VECHS Qualified Entity Application and the VECHS User Agreement at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/BackgroundChecks or contact the VECHS Unit at (850) 410-VECHS (850-410-8324), to request a copy of each document.

 

14.  Can qualified entities share criminal history information with other qualified entities?

 

Yes. Criminal history information may be obtained from other VECHS entities, if the employee or volunteer agrees to this on the VECHS Waiver Statement and Agreement 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 are described in the User Agreement. Entities must contact the VECHS Unit at (850) 410-8324 for entity verification before sharing criminal history information.

 

We believe the FAQ was able to expose all key points of FBI Level 2 Background Screening. Here are the solutions your Health Care Network may decide to implement with IDENTICO’s involvement:

 

a)      Community Mental Health & Crisis Stabilization Units- Level 2 is required by AHCA, FS 435.04 & 394.875 (Adults) and DCF FS 394, 435.04 (mental health facilities and programs providing care for children). Owner / Administrator, Financial Officer, Employees and Contractors Providing Personal Care/Services, Employees that have access to client property, funds or living areas, Directors, Professional Clinicians, Staff Members and Volunteers.

 

b)      Hospital, Surgery Centers and Diagnostic-imaging centers – only CEOs and CFOs are required by Florida Law to go through statutory background screening. Fortunately VECHS program makes FBI Level 2 screening available for all Staff Members. This type of organizations have a high chance to fit under the description of “qualified entity” and establishing VECHS number shall not be very challenging. Each entity will have a separate VECHS “E” (Employee) and “V” (Volunteer) number. As a live-scan vendor IDENTICO will keep that information on file ready for every screening.

 

c)      The cost. If your Health Care Network elects to follow with such screening procedures, and IDENTICO is granted with an opportunity to exclusively offer the screening services, we will put all efforts to make the process as convenient and cost effective as possible. Our mobile units have the capacity to travel to all South Florida locations, no stress or hassle for employees. Our technicians are trained and certified. We possess both liability and property insurance, IDENTICO is liable for any damages which may possibly occur to costly live scan equipment, client facilities or employees during the scope of our services. Keeping potential volume and value of having your Health Network as the client in our mind, we are willing to be highly competitive and flexible with payment option and rates, and will be honored with opportunity to discuss it private meeting.

 

We assume there may be several questions you may need to be answered, therefore feel free to contact us anytime.

 

Best regards,

IDENTICO LLC

Office: (954) 239-8590

Fax: (954) 367-2256

www.myidentico.com

VECHS (pronounced “vecks”) is an acronym for the Volunteer & Employee Criminal History System at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The VECHS program was implemented in 1999 and is authorized by the National Child Protection Act (NCPA) (1993), as amended, and Florida Statute 943.0542 (1999).

 

The mission of the program is to protect children, the elderly, and the disabled by 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)

 

Through the VECHS program, FDLE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provide to qualified organizations (not individuals) in Florida state and national criminal history record information on applicants, employees, and volunteers. With this criminal history information, the organizations can more effectively screen out those current and prospective volunteers and employees who are not suitable for contact with children, the elderly, or the disabled.

 

Generally, to be qualified to participate in the VECHS program, an organization (public, private, profit, or non-profit) must provide “care” or “care placement services”, as defined in the above laws, to children, the elderly, or the disabled.

 

The VECHS program is not available to organizations currently required to obtain criminal history record checks on their employees and/or volunteers under other statutory provisions, such as day care centers. Those organizations must continue to follow the statutory mandates that specifically apply to them. If, however, an organization 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 organization’s other employees or volunteers.

 

To become a qualified organization and to obtain criminal history record information through the VECHS program at FDLE, an organization will need to do the following:

 

Submit an application to FDLE explaining what functions the organization performs that serve children, elderly or disabled persons;
  Sign an agreement that the criminal history information would be used only to screen employees and volunteers of that organization for employment purposes;
  Submit $54.25 for each employee or $33.25 for each volunteer fingerprint card submission.
  Submit $43.25 for each employee or $33.25 for each volunteer electronic submission;
If an organization becomes qualified and provides the required information for criminal history record requests, FDLE, with the assistance of the FBI, will provide the organization with the following:
An indication that the person has no criminal history, i.e., no serious arrests in state or national databases, if there are none;
  The criminal history record (RAP sheet) that shows arrests/and or convictions for Florida and other states, if any;
  Notification of any warrants or domestic violence injunctions that the person may have.

The Jessica Lunsford Act was passed by the 2005 Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Bush following the assault and murder of Jessica Lunsford in Homosassa Springs, Florida. This crime was allegedly committed by an individual who had at one time worked as a subcontracted mason at Jessica Lunsford’s school. The Act focused primarily on increasing the measures used to monitor sexual offenders or predators. However, part of the Act specifically related to individuals with access to school district campuses. This Technical Assistance Paper (TAP) is to provide assistance to districts and contractual personnel to implement s. 1012.465, Florida Statutes, as amended by the 2005 Legislature.

 

Section 1012.465, Florida Statutes, now states:


(1) Non-instructional school district employees or contractual personnel who are permitted access on school grounds when students are present, who have direct contact with students or who have access to or control of school funds must meet Level 2 screening requirements as described in s. 1012.32, F.S. Contractual personnel shall include any vendor, individual, or entity under contract with the school board.
The statute, as amended, applies to three categories of either non-instructional or contractual personnel, all of whom must meet Level 2 background screening requirements, including those:


1. Who are permitted access on school grounds when students are present,
2. Who have direct contact with students, or
3. Who have access to or control of school funds.
The statute applies to such persons employed or contracted with any Florida public school district in any Florida public school, including:
-Traditional Public Schools
-Charter Schools
-Alternative Schools

District Responsibilities

 

1. Background Screening:
School districts must conduct the fingerprinting/background screening of noninstructional or contractual personnel at a location designated by the district using the code (ORI – Originating Agency Identifier) issued to the district by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and determine whether the individual has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.

 

2. Verification of Personnel on School Campuses:
For affected persons, each district must establish policies and procedures to ensure that only individuals who have undergone a background screening and have been approved to come on campus are allowed access on school grounds when students are present, or to have direct contact with students, or to have access or control over school funds.
In addition, each district must establish communication policies and procedures to ensure that all pertinent parties are notified when an individual terminates service with the district.

 

3. Sharing of Records:
Districts may share background screening results with other public school districts and are encouraged to do so to reduce the time and fiscal impact on certain service providers who may be providing contractual services in multiple districts.
Such persons may include:
– Vendors, including soda/milk/snack vendors under contract with the district
-Sports officials
-Construction contractors and subcontractors
-Senior ring, photography, or yearbook vendors

 

Should districts choose to share records, it is recommended that the cooperating districts execute a Memorandum of Understanding which clearly spells out the role to be played by each district. Any employee provided access to criminal history records should be cautioned as to the confidentiality of the information contained within the record, and should not discuss such information outside of those also legally allowed access to such record.

 

4. Maintenance of Records:
After receiving the initial background check results from the FDLE, the original submitting district will thereafter be electronically notified by FDLE, in writing, of any new arrests. The original submitting district should forward the arrest information to any districts with which they have shared the criminal record. In addition, s. 1012.32(3), F.S., requires each school district to inform the FDLE of any change in the affiliation, employment, or contractual status of an individual previously fingerprinted.

 

The prints of an individual who terminates service with a district and is later reengaged to provide additional services must be re-submitted to the FDLE. Those individuals who provide services on a periodic basis pursuant to an on-going contract and who do not effectively break service should continue to have their arrest record results transmitted to the district by the FDLE.

 

The requirements applicable to those entities receiving fingerprint background check results are set forth in Rule 11C-6.010, promulgated by the FDLE pursuant to authority in s. 1012.32(3), F.S.

 

IDENTICO LLC provides background screening services to several private schools, whose background screening policies are based on National Child Protection Act (NCPA) as well as on Jessica Lunsford Act. Such private educational entities are qualified to obtain Level II background screening through VECHS program. Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) program allows for qualified entities to obtain state and national criminal history record checks on individuals working with children, the elderly or the disabled.Under the NCPA and 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.

 

If you work or volunteer for “qualified entity” and VECHS screening is required as part of your employment or volunteerism, please contact us today.  IDENTICO is FDLE authorized Live Scan vendor serving South Florida.  With any question related to Level 2 background checks please call us at (954) 239-8590 or visit us online at www.myidentico.com for more information. We provide Mobile Fingerprinting Services and would come to your facility to fingerprint any size groups. Visit our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021 for all fingerprinting, background screening or drug testing needs.

 

Here are some important facts on background screening for Summer Camps in FAQ format:

 

What constitutes a summer camp?

 

Summer day camps” and “Summer 24-hour camps” are defined in Section 409.175 F.S. “Summer day camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older. “Summer 24-hour camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated on a 24-hour basis during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older, that are not exclusively educational.

 

Requirements for athletic coaches are found in Section 943.0438 F.S. Background screening for paid or volunteer athletic coaches are not screened through the Department of Children and Families, they are screened using the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Enforcement of requirements for athletic coaches would be the independent sanctioning authority.

 

Who has to be screened?

Personnel for the purposes of screening for summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps includes owners, operators, employees, and volunteers working in summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps providing care for children. Volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement is always present and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight.

 

When do employees or volunteers have to be screened?

An employer may not hire, select, or otherwise allow an employee to have contact with any vulnerable person that would place the employee in a role that requires the background screening.

 

How are international counselors background screened?

They must complete a Level 2 Background Screening upon arriving in Florida. Although not required by law, a background check from their home country should be requested. Most organizations that assist with identifying international counselors do provide a background check.

 

Are employees or volunteers under the age of 18 required to be fingerprinted?

Yes. There are no exclusions under the statute for those under age 18 from being fingerprinted. However, if the employee or volunteer under 18 is not providing direct care for children, they would not have to be fingerprinted.

 

What are the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Screening for employment and where are the lists of offenses that will preclude potential employees from working? What are local law enforcement checks? What are the cost differences? Do we need to do a local sheriff’s check?

The requirements for Level 1 and Level 2 Employment Background Screening are found in Chapter 435 Florida Statutes. Level 1 Background Screening requires an employment history check, statewide criminal correspondence checks through FDLE (name-based check), and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website and may include local law enforcement checks.

 

Level 2 Background Screening requires fingerprinting for statewide criminal history checks through FDLE and national criminal history checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and may include local law enforcement checks.

The list of disqualifications from employment is found in Section 435.04 F.S.

 

They include:

 

  • Anyone arrested for and awaiting final disposition of prohibited offense, regardless of adjudication
  • Anyone who has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a prohibited offense
  • Any case where the applicant was adjudicated delinquent and the record of committing a prohibited offense has not been sealed or expunged

 

Local law enforcement checks are completed by local sheriff and police departments. They are recommended because occasionally there may be information related to arrests or calls to the applicant’s address that are not included in the FDLE record.

 

The costs can vary and depend upon the Live Scan vendor selected. Most costs are listed on our website under the section Live Scan Location and Interactive Map.

 

Are volunteer athletic coach screened under this law?

No. Background screening for volunteer athletic coaches is authorized under s. 943.0438 F.S. through the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System.

 

What are the differences between this law and the Jessica Lunsford Act?

The Jessica Lunsford Act found in Section 1012.465 F.S. requires non-instructional school district employees or contract personnel who are permitted access on school grounds when students are presents meet Level 2 Background Screening requirements as described in s. 1012.32 F.S.

 

Is there any limit on how far in advance you can screen?

No earlier than 60 days before beginning employment.

 

How often do they have to be screened?

Section 409.1757 F.S. outlines when persons are not required to be refingerprinted or rescreened. If an employee or applicant has been fingerprinted or screened as required in chapter 393, 394, 397, 402, and 409, or teachers pursuant to chapter 1012, who have not been unemployed for more than 90 days and attest to the completion of the fingerprinting and compliance with the standards related to good moral character.

 

What are ORI and OCA numbers? What is the process to get an agency ORI Code and OCA Code and how long does that take?

The ORI number (Originating Agency Identifier). This number is provided by FDLE and identifies the agency requesting the criminal history check and for what purpose.

The OCA (Controlling Agency Identifier). This number is provided by DCF and identifies the provider requesting the background check.

Without the ORI number and the OCA number, FDLE cannot process the request and the DCF will not know where the screening results are to be sent.

The DCF will need the following:

 

Facility/Camp:

Name
Physical Address
Mailing Address
Valid E-mail
Contact Person (Owner/Operator)
Contact Person Phone Number

 

This information can be sent to the following email address: bgs1116@dcf.state.fl.us

Upon registration, you will be provided a DCF Agency Identifier (ORI) and a DCF Live Scan OCA through email.

 

What if we have already done the VECHS check – is this sufficient?

No. DCF is responsible for ensuring persons working in summer camps meet the requirements for background screening. VECHS checks are not allowed to be shared with the Department.

 

What if we have already done fingerprint checks, but not through the Live Scan process – do those have to be redone? Can fingerprints be done using hard cards?

 

If they meet the Level 2 requirements, were completed within the last 5 years, and there has not been a 90 day break in service, they would not need to be redone.

Fingerprints submitted using hard cards are permissible until 2012. However, it will delay receiving the results for 4-6 weeks or longer.

 

Where do the records need to be kept? Is it the same for the Affidavit of Good Moral Character?

The results from the background screening and the Affidavit of Good Moral Conduct should be maintained in your personnel files.

 

Who will be enforcing this? Can we expect to be monitored or inspected, or will this happen when a complaint is lodged against a program?

 

DCF has the authority to ensure compliance. Currently, summer camps are only monitored when a complaint has been made related to noncompliance with background screening. However, we are reviewing the requirements and more information related to enforcement will be released in the near future.

 

Why isn’t there a state database where I can verify if someone has already been checked?

Currently, there are limitations on sharing information between agencies. Agencies work together and when possible, the DCF will accept Level 2 Letters of Clearance completed by other entities such as school boards, or the Agency for Health Care Administration.

 

Is all necessary information collected with the fingerprint, or are there other forms that have to be completed and retained by us, or returned to DCF?

For completion of the Level 2 Background Screening, the information provided to the Live Scan Vendor is sufficient. Additional information from the applicant may be required if a criminal history is noted.

 

When does a summer camp have to be licensed by DCF?

Summer camps are not licensed by DCF.

 

Does the State require any additional training of employees hired by local agencies for summer programs?

No.

What are the counties that are doing their own licensing, when are they allowed to do their own licensing, and can they require a program that is exempt in State statute to be licensed under their county authority? Where can we find contact information on those county licensing boards/units?

 

The State does not require licensure of summer camps. There may be local ordinances that do require licensure. This information would be found locally.

Is there a website for more answers on DCF background screening requirements?

 

Yes. The Department website for background screening is: http://www.dcfbackgroundscreening.com. As information or updates are available, they will be added to our website.

 

Here are some important facts on background screening for Summer Camps in FAQ format:

 

What constitutes a summer camp?

 

Summer day camps” and “Summer 24-hour camps” are defined in Section 409.175 F.S. “Summer day camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older. “Summer 24-hour camps” are recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated on a 24-hour basis during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older, that are not exclusively educational.

 

Requirements for athletic coaches are found in Section 943.0438 F.S. Background screening for paid or volunteer athletic coaches are not screened through the Department of Children and Families, they are screened using the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Enforcement of requirements for athletic coaches would be the independent sanctioning authority.

 

Who has to be screened?

 

Personnel for the purposes of screening for summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps includes owners, operators, employees, and volunteers working in summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps providing care for children. Volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement is always present and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight.

 

When do employees or volunteers have to be screened?

 

An employer may not hire, select, or otherwise allow an employee to have contact with any vulnerable person that would place the employee in a role that requires the background screening.

 

How are international counselors background screened?

 

They must complete a Level 2 Background Screening upon arriving in Florida. Although not required by law, a background check from their home country should be requested. Most organizations that assist with identifying international counselors do provide a background check.

 

Are employees or volunteers under the age of 18 required to be fingerprinted?

 

Yes. There are no exclusions under the statute for those under age 18 from being fingerprinted. However, if the employee or volunteer under 18 is not providing direct care for children, they would not have to be fingerprinted.

 

What are the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Screening for employment and where are the lists of offenses that will preclude potential employees from working? What are local law enforcement checks? What are the cost differences? Do we need to do a local sheriff’s check?

 

The requirements for Level 1 and Level 2 Employment Background Screening are found in Chapter 435 Florida Statutes. Level 1 Background Screening requires an employment history check, statewide criminal correspondence checks through FDLE (name-based check), and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website and may include local law enforcement checks.

 

Level 2 Background Screening requires fingerprinting for statewide criminal history checks through FDLE and national criminal history checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and may include local law enforcement checks.

 

The list of disqualifications from employment is found in Section 435.04 F.S.

 

They include:

 

  • Anyone arrested for and awaiting final disposition of prohibited offense, regardless of adjudication
  • Anyone who has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a prohibited offense
  • Any case where the applicant was adjudicated delinquent and the record of committing a prohibited offense has not been sealed or expunged

 

Local law enforcement checks are completed by local sheriff and police departments. They are recommended because occasionally there may be information related to arrests or calls to the applicant’s address that are not included in the FDLE record.

 

The costs can vary and depend upon the Live Scan vendor selected. Most costs are listed on our website under the section Live Scan Location and Interactive Map.

 

Are volunteer athletic coach screened under this law?

 

No. Background screening for volunteer athletic coaches is authorized under s. 943.0438 F.S. through the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System.

 

What are the differences between this law and the Jessica Lunsford Act?

 

The Jessica Lunsford Act found in Section 1012.465 F.S. requires non-instructional school district employees or contract personnel who are permitted access on school grounds when students are presents meet Level 2 Background Screening requirements as described in s. 1012.32 F.S.

 

Is there any limit on how far in advance you can screen?

No earlier than 60 days before beginning employment.

How often do they have to be screened?

 

Section 409.1757 F.S. outlines when persons are not required to be refingerprinted or rescreened. If an employee or applicant has been fingerprinted or screened as required in chapter 393, 394, 397, 402, and 409, or teachers pursuant to chapter 1012, who have not been unemployed for more than 90 days and attest to the completion of the fingerprinting and compliance with the standards related to good moral character.

 

What are ORI and OCA numbers? What is the process to get an agency ORI Code and OCA Code and how long does that take?

 

The ORI number (Originating Agency Identifier). This number is provided by FDLE and identifies the agency requesting the criminal history check and for what purpose.

 

The OCA (Controlling Agency Identifier). This number is provided by DCF and identifies the provider requesting the background check.

 

Without the ORI number and the OCA number, FDLE cannot process the request and the DCF will not know where the screening results are to be sent.

 

The DCF will need the following:

 

Facility/Camp:

Name
Physical Address
Mailing Address
Valid E-mail
Contact Person (Owner/Operator)
Contact Person Phone Number

 

This information can be sent to the following email address: bgs1116@dcf.state.fl.us

Upon registration, you will be provided a DCF Agency Identifier (ORI) and a DCF Live Scan OCA through email.

 

What if we have already done the VECHS check – is this sufficient?

 

No. DCF is responsible for ensuring persons working in summer camps meet the requirements for background screening. VECHS checks are not allowed to be shared with the Department.

 

What if we have already done fingerprint checks, but not through the Live Scan process – do those have to be redone? Can fingerprints be done using hard cards?

 

If they meet the Level 2 requirements, were completed within the last 5 years, and there has not been a 90 day break in service, they would not need to be redone.

 

Fingerprints submitted using hard cards are permissible until 2012. However, it will delay receiving the results for 4-6 weeks or longer.

 

Where do the records need to be kept? Is it the same for the Affidavit of Good Moral Character?

 

The results from the background screening and the Affidavit of Good Moral Conduct should be maintained in your personnel files.

 

Who will be enforcing this? Can we expect to be monitored or inspected, or will this happen when a complaint is lodged against a program?

 

DCF has the authority to ensure compliance. Currently, summer camps are only monitored when a complaint has been made related to noncompliance with background screening. However, we are reviewing the requirements and more information related to enforcement will be released in the near future.

 

Why isn’t there a state database where I can verify if someone has already been checked?

 

Currently, there are limitations on sharing information between agencies. Agencies work together and when possible, the DCF will accept Level 2 Letters of Clearance completed by other entities such as school boards, or the Agency for Health Care Administration.

 

Is all necessary information collected with the fingerprint, or are there other forms that have to be completed and retained by us, or returned to DCF?

 

For completion of the Level 2 Background Screening, the information provided to the Live Scan Vendor is sufficient. Additional information from the applicant may be required if a criminal history is noted.

 

When does a summer camp have to be licensed by DCF?

 

Summer camps are not licensed by DCF.

 

Does the State require any additional training of employees hired by local agencies for summer programs?

 

No.

 

What are the counties that are doing their own licensing, when are they allowed to do their own licensing, and can they require a program that is exempt in State statute to be licensed under their county authority? Where can we find contact information on those county licensing boards/units?

 

The State does not require licensure of summer camps. There may be local ordinances that do require licensure. This information would be found locally.

 

Is there a website for more answers on DCF background screening requirements?

 

Yes. The Department website for background screening is: http://www.dcfbackgroundscreening.com. As information or updates are available, they will be added to our website.

 

Who runs this Blog?

IDENTICO LLC is FDLE approved live scan vendor providing Level 2 background screening and fingerprinting services for AHCA, DCF, APD, VECHS, DBPR, DOEA providers, Name Change Petitioners and to many others.

Please call (954) 239-8590 or (888) 988-8969 for more information or visit our official web-page http://www.myidentico.com.
We gladly respond to all emails sent to info@myidentico.com

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