Many people come in contact with the Child Protective Services (CPS). It is a state body that protects kids from their abuser caregivers.
For those that have criminal records, one concern may arise. Does CPS run background checks?
CPS can also be involved when people lose custody of kids due to prison time. This is because they evaluate if the person should regain custody of the child.
CPS falls under the state social services department. However it is not always referred to by the same name across all states. It can also be known as:
- Department of Family Services
- Human Services Department
- Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS)
- Department of Social Services
Let’s look at what CPS does.
What Is CPS?
As said, CPS is concerned with the welfare of kids. Also, CPS is obligated to do certain actions when a report is made. This can include:
1 Probing claims of child abuse or neglect
2 Ensure the immediate safety of the child
3 Evaluate the risks of having the child continue to stay in said home
4 Decide what interventions are needed to safeguard the child
5 Decide what ongoing support from family, counselors, and medical care are needed
The safety of the child within the home is key for the CPS. Firstly, CPS will try to remove the abuser from the home. Preferably, the child should remain in their home. However, other options for custody will be looked at if no longer safe.
This is a top option for the placement of kids. It allows them to stay with relatives or extended family members. In instances of emergency care, it is preferred. Shortly after the child has been removed from their parents.
Furthermore, related caregivers are a vital support for these children. They are often better nurtured by those that know them. Also, the parents get a chance to undergo counseling and parent education. Thereafter, they may be deemed fit enough to be reunited with their kids.
Some felons fall under this category of kinship care. They worry that their chances of taking in related kids will be affected by their criminal history. however, depending on the determination made by CPS, these caregivers could end up as the child’s forever home.
Does CPS Run Background Checks?
There are many ways in which someone with a criminal background will interact with CPS. As said, it could be the person wants to adopt or foster a child. This is especially common where the child is related. Also, it could be they are trying to regain custody of their kids.
A felon may also want to work for CPS. Other institutions are under CPS supervision. In many states, there are charter schools that fall under this purview.
Therefore, for any of these cases, a background check is a must. For these checks, CPS may access a range of databases including:
1 FBI fingerprint check
2 National and statewide sex offender registries
3 National and state criminal databases
4 CPS child welfare information systems
5 National crime information center
It is within these databases that CPS may find some record of abuse. Furthermore, the info found here will help in deciding if the person makes for a suitable foster or adoptive parent.
The evidence can also be used to support the prosecution of child abuse cases. In addition, it may make a case for the child to be removed from the abuser’s custody.
The results can also be used to determine if a person is suited to working for CPS. Notable given the vulnerability of the kids the department regularly deals with.
Consequently, in making recommendations about persons under review, CPS will consider:
- The nature and severity of the offense
- Age of the candidate at the time the abuse occurred
- Time passed since the offense occurred
- If any assigned sentence has been completed
- Nature of the job being sought
When considering how far back do background checks go, the period can be lengthy. For instance, CPS can access even juvenile records.
Documents Assessed by CPS
As mentioned, CPS background checks can be severe. CPS will typically have an applicant fill a consent form. This form permits them to conduct a background check on the person.
The records CPS can request can include:
- Arrest records
- Case incident reports
- Supplementary reports
- Rap sheets
- Certificate of disposition
- Full investigative reports
Those with criminal records can also be asked to provide letters of explanation. The depth and breadth of these investigations can vary depending on the state.
Note that these checks can be redone regularly. Many states require this rechecking to ensure child safety is upheld.
Tips for Handling CPS Concerns
It is best to be honest about any dubious history involving kids. You must be forthcoming, whether you are looking for a childcare role or want to adopt.
Running a background check on yourself is a good way to ensure full disclosure.
Also, make an effort to cultivate a good image. Building a solid work history and volunteering can boost your chances. You want to show that you are an ideal candidate to place a child. Or, that you are capable of caring for your kids again.
When talking to your caseworker, stress the positive changes made. You need to convince them you are a changed person.
CPS does run background checks across many databases. They are highly comprehensive. Particularly when it comes to criminal and sexual offenses.
However, this does not mean a person with a criminal record cannot become a foster parent. Also, it does not mean they cannot regain custody of their kids. Having a criminal record can make it harder, but not impossible.
The goal is to prove that you are a good choice. CPS will take into account factors like the nature and severity of your crimes. This is to ensure the child is protected.
If you have rebuilt your life, you do stand a chance of achieving your goals. Even with a background check that will reveal your past.