INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-7-15
1. Guide used to assess background history. The Assessment of Background Information of Bridge Resource Applicants Guide developed and provided by the OKDHS Office of General Counsel, May, 2010 is utilized by resource specialists, supervisors, and area and state committee members to assess the applicant or household member's criminal history. The guide is also used by resource specialists to assess Child Welfare, or other concerning history such as traffic offenses, money judgments, or multiple marriages.
2. Background checks. All searches, except for Juvenile Justice Information System (JOLTS), are completed for each Bridge resource applicant and adult household member using current and previous names, aliases, and Social Security numbers.
(1) Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searches.
(A) Background search authorized by signature. Child Welfare (CW) specialist advises the Bridge resource applicant and adult household members that the applicant or household member's signature on Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, authorizes Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) to complete an investigation of the applicant or adult household member.
(B) OSBI and FBI fingerprinting records checks process. Results of the fingerprinting process are received in approximately four weeks. The process the CW specialist follows for obtaining, sharing, and recording an OSBI name and records search and FBI national criminal history records search is outlined in units (i) through (x) of this subparagraph. The responsible CW specialist:
(i) submits Form 04AD003E to Children and Family Services Division (CFSD) Fingerprint Processing Section;
(ii) files a copy of Form 04AD003E in the resource record;
(iii) submits Form 04AD003E for the OSBI name search and submits a separate Form 04AD003E with fingerprint cards for the OSBI records search and FBI national criminal history records search for every applicant and adult household member;
(iv) provides two fingerprint cards to the applicant and every person 18 years of age or older residing in the applicant's home;
(v) provides the applicant with an automated fingerprinting authorization obtained through Finance AS400;
(vi) instructs the applicant to:
(I) take the authorization and fingerprint cards to local law enforcement or a fingerprinting agency for fingerprinting services; and
(II) return the cards to the CW specialist once fingerprinting is completed;
(vii) checks the fingerprint cards for accuracy and forwards the cards for the applicant and adult household member, along with Form 04AD003E, to the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section;
(viii) when the fingerprint cards are rejected and reprinting is necessary, returns the cards to and instructs the person, whose fingerprints were rejected, to take the cards to the original vendor, who reprints the person at no additional charge;
(ix) stores fingerprint results for each applicant and adult household member in a locked file cabinet in a separate manila envelope with the name and resource number written on the outside; and
(x) enters the date of the search in KIDS Criminal Background Check screen.
(C) OSBI RapBack service. OSBI record of arrest and prosecution (RAP) reports are maintained by OSBI. RapBack is a service offered to Oklahoma non-criminal justice government agencies for non-criminal justice purposes such as and Bridge resource parent application and continued approval decisions and trial home reunification.
(i) The RapBack service is not associated with national criminal history and details only subsequent Oklahoma arrests after an individual's fingerprints were submitted to the OSBI and FBI for non-criminal justice purposes.
(I) Yearly OSBI background checks are not necessary as RapBack serves the purpose for a yearly Oklahoma criminal background check for active Bridge resource parents.
(II) The FBI does not have a program similar to the OSBI RapBack and continued fingerprinting for national criminal history records checks is necessary for active Bridge resource parents every five years.
(ii) RapBack reports are received and distributed by the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section to the CFSD Resource Unit where the report:
(I) is reviewed, scanned, and placed in the KIDS resource file cabinet; and
(II) emailed to the assigned resource specialist and supervisor.
(iii) The resource specialist:
(I) obtains the disposition of the criminal arrest or charge detailed on the RapBack report;
(II) contacts the resource parent to address and assess the information;
(III) determines whether a written plan of compliance, an abuse or neglect referral, or closure of the home is warranted;
(IV) ensures the safety and well-being of the child(ren) placed in the Bridge resource home; and
(V) documents the information on a contact in the KIDS resource case.
(iv) CFSD Foster Care Section and OKDHS Legal Division provide consultation regarding RapBack information and related action steps.
(v) RapBack reports received regarding persons in a closed resource home are scanned and placed in the resource file cabinet by CFSD Foster Care Section.
(vi) CFSD maintains an electronic log of RapBack reports.
(2) Court records search. A search is completed to determine whether the applicant or adult household member is or was a party to a court action and, if so, the disposition of the criminal charges or court involvement. The results are documented on Form 04AF007E, Records Check Documentation Form, and filed in the resource record. The responsible CW specialist searches:
(A) the Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN) at http://www.oscn.net/;
(B) offender information and offender lookup through Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) at http://www.doc.state.ok.us/;
(C) Oklahoma District Court Records (ODCR) at http://www.odcr.com/; and
(D) Mary Rippy Violent Offender Registry search at http://www.doc.state.ok.us/. A free self-initiated search of Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offender Registry is conducted at the DOC website by selecting:
(i) Offenders on the Quick Links line;
(ii) Violent Offenders Lookup and reading the website caveats and agreeing to the terms; and
(iii) entering the search information.
(3) OKDHS records search. The responsible CW specialist completes a search of all OKDHS records including CW history. A search is completed using the Information Management System (IMS) and KIDS with the adult's name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information is recorded on Form 04AF007E and filed in the resource record.
(4) Child abuse and neglect registry information. When a state that maintains a child abuse and neglect registry does not respond appropriately to an information request, the foster care supervisor notifies the CFSD foster care programs manager who contacts the Administration for Children and Families regional office for assistance.
(A) The CW specialist documents the name of the state(s) and efforts made to obtain the information in the resource record, but does not place the child without the required registry check.
(B) When a child abuse and neglect registry is not maintained by a state and the state is unable to provide any information:
(i) the attempt is documented in KIDS; and
(ii) CFSD foster care program staff is consulted regarding whether the placement approval may proceed if the placement is otherwise approved.
(5) JOLTS search. The responsible CW specialist completes a search on JOLTS of all children in the home 13 years of age and older. The results are documented on Form 04AF007E and filed in the resource record.
(6) Foreign country criminal and child abuse and neglect records search. When the prospective Bridge resource parent has resided in a foreign country within the last five years, the resource specialist contacts the appropriate consulate to request criminal and child abuse and neglect records search.
3. Exception to fingerprinting procedures. When the prospective caretaker's fingerprint impressions are rejected by the FBI due to low quality fingerprint characteristics or an individual does not have fingers, an alternate procedure to conduct a name-based check of the National Criminal Information Database (NCID) is conducted by the FBI to obtain a national criminal history record check. The alternative results are used for limited and case-specific situations. The alternative background check results are not acceptable when fingerprint impressions are of low quality due to lack of technological capacity or use of improper techniques.
(1) Individuals without fingers must submit fingerprint cards with the identifying information completed, stating the reason the individual does not have fingers.
(2) When the individual has no fingers or has low quality fingerprint characteristics, the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section submits a request to the FBI for a name-based check of the NCID.
(3) When the NCID name-based check results are obtained, the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section submits a written request for an exception to the fingerprint requirement to the CFSD Foster Care Section, designated as the Oklahoma Department of Human Services' Director's designee for this purpose.
(4) Individuals with a severe disability that prevents the person from caretaking are not required to submit a fingerprint card and a national criminal history records search is not conducted.
(A) The CW or resource specialist submits an email to the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section requesting an exception to fingerprinting for the severely disabled non-caretaker.
(B) The CFSD Fingerprinting Processing Section conducts an OSBI criminal history check only and submit the request for an exception to the Foster Care Section for approval.
(C) When the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section receives a determination regarding the exception for the prospective caregiver or non-caregiver, the appropriate CW specialist is notified by email and a copy of the document granting the permanent exemption to the fingerprint requirement is mailed to the CW specialist.
(D) The CFSD Foster Care Section enters a KIDS contact with the determination.
(E) The CW specialist places the written determination in the paper file.
4. Criminal records history check for adults in the home more than 30 calendar days per year. A criminal records history search is completed for every adult who sleeps in the household more than 30 days per calendar year or engages in a pattern of overnight visitation that meets this test. Such persons are considered household members.
5. Kinship Bridge resource applicant criminal background records search after normal business hours or on a holiday. The responsible CW specialist:
(1) requests a purpose code x name-based NCIC criminal history search;
(2) documents the criminal history search by local law enforcement after normal business hours and on holidays in KIDS Resource Contacts screen;
(3) submits signed Form 04AD003E to the Fingerprint Processing Section the next business day, indicating that it is an after-hours follow-up;
(4) submits the fingerprint cards to the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section within five business days of the name-based after hours background records check, attached to a copy of the previously submitted Form 04AD003E; and
(5) does not place a child in a kinship Bridge resource home when the prospective kinship Bridge resource applicant or person 18 years of age or older residing in the home refuses fingerprinting.
6. Certain felonies prohibit applicant approval. OKDHS does not grant exceptions for felony convictions listed in OAC 340:75-7-15(i)(1), for a prospective or approved Bridge resource parent or for anyone residing in the prospective or approved Bridge resource home.
7. Drug-related offenses. An alcohol-related felony conviction is a drug-related offense and prohibits approval of an applicant as a Bridge resource parent, when the conviction occurred within five years preceding the application date.
8. Assessment of other related crimes, charges, and convictions. The resource specialist conducts a thorough assessment of the risk potential to the child when there is any felony or relevant misdemeanor criminal arrest or conviction history regarding the applicant or an adult household member. An area or state committee reviews the Bridge resource applicant or adult household member's criminal arrest or conviction history, unless the CW supervisor or county director in consultation with the child welfare field liaison (CWFL), as needed, have reviewed the information and denied the application.
(1) A homicide includes any type of murder, manslaughter, or other charge involving the death of a person.
(2) A relevant misdemeanor may include:
(A) assault and battery;
(B) alcohol or drug-related offenses;
(C) domestic violence; or
(D) other offenses involving the use of physical force or violence against the person or property of another.
(3) According to Oklahoma law, a deferred sentence means a defendant has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere; however, the court has agreed to withhold a legal finding of guilt on the condition the defendant completes the terms of the deferred sentence imposed by the court. As such the plea entered by the defendant is not a conviction to the underlying criminal charge, but may be considered in determining the applicant's suitability to be a resource parent even when the applicant was granted a deferred sentence.
(4) The resource specialist considers all issues relevant to assessing the applicant's appropriateness or suitability to be a Bridge resource parent.
(5) Assessment of charges and convictions include consideration of, but are not limited to the:
(A) type of crime committed, including a detailed description of how and why the crime was committed;
(B) time elapsed since the crime or conviction;
(C) length of the deferment or length and type of sentence imposed;
(D) completion date of the sentence;
(E) assignment of a probation or parole officer and the officer's contact and location information;
(F) positive changes the applicant has made in his or her lifestyle since the arrest or conviction and a description of how and why the changes occurred;
(G) applicant's self-evaluation regarding how the experience may help children or youth placed in the home;
(H) provisions for the safety and well-being of a child in the home due to the applicant's criminal history.
9. Area and state committee review of criminal history.
(1) Area committee review request. The area committee reviews an applicant or household member's criminal history, unless the resource specialist and CW supervisor have reviewed and denied the application.
(A) The foster care supervisor and appropriate county director or adoption supervisor and adoption programs manager review the criminal history and have the authority to deny the application based on the history. When the application is denied by the foster care supervisor and the appropriate county director or the adoption supervisor and adoption programs manager, an area committee review is not required.
(B) When the application is not denied by the foster care supervisor or appropriate county director or the adoption supervisor and adoption programs manager the responsible foster care or adoption supervisor convenes the area committee as quickly as possible to review the criminal history, but no later than three business days following the decision to request an area review. The meeting may be conducted via conference call or email to expedite the process.
(2) Area committee composition. The area committee includes the:
(A) appropriate county foster care supervisor;
(B) area adoption supervisor with consultation from the CFSD adoption programs manager as needed, assigned by the CFSD adoption programs administrator; and
(C) Child Welfare field liaison (CWFL) or permanency field liaison (PFL) assigned by the area director.
(3) Area committee process.
(A) The responsible foster care or adoption specialist scans and emails the criminal history and all information related to the criminal history to the area committee members.
(B) The area committee reviews the criminal history and related information and determines whether the:
(i) foster care or adoption specialist may proceed with the application process; or
(iiI) application is denied.
(C) The responsible supervisor:
(i) documents the names of the area committee members and the decision in KIDS Pre-resource Contacts, citing, in detail, all relevant information considered in making the decision; and
(ii) provides notification to the appropriate parties.
(D) A request for review is not made to the state committee when the area committee denies the application.
(E) A state committee review is requested when the area committee:
(i) determines the foster care or adoption specialist should proceed with the application process, but the criminal arrest or conviction history involves one or more of the specifically prohibited felony offenses;
(iiI) is unclear about the in or out-of-state arrests, charges, or disposition of any criminal history; or
(iii) does not reach a consensus regarding whether to proceed with the application process.
(4) State committee responsibilities. The state committee reviews all criminal arrest and conviction history provided by the area committee regarding the applicant or household to resolve the question submitted by the area committee or confirm whether the criminal history includes a specifically prohibited felony conviction for any offenses listed in (A) through (E) of this paragraph:
(A) physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the five year period preceding the application date;
(B) child abuse or neglect;
(C) domestic abuse;
(D) a crime against a child including, but not limited to child pornography; or
(E) a crime involving violence, including but not limited to, rape, sexual assault or homicide, but excluding physical assault or battery.
(5) State committee composition. The state committee consults with and receives technical assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Legal Division and includes:
(A) a Field Operations Division representative;
(B) the CFSD foster care programs manager; and
(C) the adoptions programs manager II.
(6) State committee review process.
(A) When the application is not denied by the area committee and a state committee review is necessary, the area committee convenes the state committee as quickly as possible to review the criminal history, but no later than three business days following the decision to request a state review. The meeting may be conducted via conference call or email to expedite the process.
(B) The area committee forwards the:
(i) pre-resource or resource number;
(ii) criminal history;
(iii) information related to the criminal history to the state committee members; and
(iv) a brief summary of why the state committee review is requested.
(C) The appropriate CFSD foster care or adoption programs manager documents the names of state committee members and the decision in KIDS Pre-resource Contacts, citing in detail all relevant information considered in making the decision.
(D) The appropriate area committee member provides notification of the state committee decision to the appropriate parties.
(E) The state committee decision is final and represents the official OKDHS position.
10. Assessment of CW history. The resource specialist consults on a case-by-case basis with the CW supervisor, CWFL, and county director regarding any CW history found, including appeal decisions. The county director considers the:
(1) nature and seriousness of the CW history;
(2) time elapsed since the CW history;
(3) circumstances of the CW history;
(4) degree of rehabilitation;
(5) risk, if any, to the child by such placement; and
(6) results of appeals, when applicable.
11. Assessment of CW history of a closed Bridge resource home. OKDHS determines whether to pursue the approval of any applicant that was previously a Bridge resource parent with a history of child abuse and neglect investigations.
(1) The CFSD Foster Care Section reviews investigations when abuse or neglect allegations and confirmed findings are present related to the applicant.
(2) CFSD Foster Care Section reviews the CW history and makes a recommendation in writing to the county director as to whether the application process proceeds.
12. JOLTS information. The information obtained from a JOLTS search regarding the child 13 years of age and older living in the applicant's home or the child of an adult household member who visits the home frequently is used to determine whether that child poses a risk to a child in OKDHS custody. The resource specialist consults on a case-by-case basis with the CW supervisor, CWFL, and county director about any JOLTS history found. When determining whether to proceed with the application process, the county director considers the:
(1) nature and seriousness of the JOLTS history;
(2) time elapsed since the JOLTS history;
(3) circumstances of the JOLTS history;
(4) child's ongoing involvement with Office of Juvenile Affairs; and
(5) child's degree of rehabilitation.