Background Checks with OVC and OVW Federal Funds - Washington State Department of Commerce

Last update: April 6, 2020

New Condition Regarding Background Checks with OVC and OVW Federal Funds

Little girl holding adults hand

Please note:  Many grantees have indicated that they are unable to meet the new federal background check requirement regarding fingerprinting of covered individuals that interact with children within the timeframe required.

 

We will consider you in compliance as long as you document why fingerprint checks are not available (temporary suspension by law enforcement) and you complete the other elements of the condition. Once fingerprinting is available again, you may need to meet that requirement.

FAQ

Q.  Does this mean all my SANE nurses need to have background checks?  I am assuming (I will check) the hospital does back ground checks but probably only on initial hiring for their FTE hire. 


A.  These requirements apply to all covered individuals that interact with any minor in the course of activities under your grant (employees paid by the grant, volunteers used as match under the grant, and volunteers supporting grant-covered activities). Covered individual means any individual who is expected, or reasonably likely, to interact with any participating minor.


Q.  Does the background check include all staff in a health and social services department that can at one point have interaction with children or does the background check only pertains to providers that see minors as a client/patient?


A. These requirements apply to all covered individuals that interact with any minor in the course of activities under your grant (employees paid by the grant, volunteers used as match under the grant, and volunteers supporting grant-covered activities). Covered individual means any individual who is expected, or reasonably likely, to interact with any participating minor.


Q.  Does this apply to staff only or volunteers as well?


A.  These requirements apply to all covered individuals that interact with any minor in the course of activities under your grant (employees paid by the grant, volunteers used as match under the grant, and volunteers supporting grant-covered activities). Covered individual means any individual who is expected, or reasonably likely, to interact with any participating minor.


Such an individual might be an employee of a grantee, but also might be (for example) a consultant, contractor, employee of a contractor, trainee, or volunteer.


Q.  When someone covers for the grant position for vacations, etc., do they need to be checked as well? They wouldn’t be getting paid under the grant.


A.  These requirements apply to all covered individuals that interact with any minor in the course of activities under your grant (employees paid by the grant, volunteers used as match under the grant, and volunteers supporting grant-covered activities). Covered individual means any individual who is expected, or reasonably likely, to interact with any participating minor.


Q.  Does the requirement apply to staff and volunteers who only interact with people on the phone?


A.  Interaction includes physical contact, oral and written communication.

Q.  Does the background our office does count?

 

A.  Maybe. Only if it complies with the federal requirements, specifically a fingerprint search.

 

Q.  Can you clarify if the background screening has to be a federal check or does WATCH meet the requirement if fingerprinting is added?  Just asking because CACs are already required to have federal background checks as per Accreditation standards, so am curious if this aligns with those requirements.  NCA also requires Sex Offender and Child Abuse Registry checks.

 

A.  It will depend on the staff member. If the covered individual has lived, worked, or gone to school at any time in a different state in the last five years, you will have to check that state as well.

 

Q.  How do you get background checks for other states the employee lived in?

 

A.  The FBI provides a report based upon their multi-agency database (federal, state, local agencies) for an $18 fee.

 

Organizations can have select post offices take your prints and submit the packet (it is more than just the fingerprint card) on-line.  If you submit on-line your response is also on-line, and faster.

 

You may also check with the specific state as this will vary. Remember that the criminal history registry must be checked for each state in which the individual lives, works, or goes to school, or has lived, worked, or gone to school at any time during the past five years.

 

Q.  What organizations in Washington State do fingerprinting for this purpose and do you know the cost?

 

A.  The Washington State Patrol (WSP) WATCH website provides a list of law enforcement agencies that provide the fingerprint service (pdf)

 

Costs will vary. As an example, the Washington State Patrol, Identification and Criminal History Section in Olympia provides the fingerprinting service for $16. Fingerprinting rules are also available on their web site. WSP charges $58 for the background check on submitted fingerprints.

 

Q. Does “Criminal history registries and similar repositories of criminal history records” mean a WA state criminal background check through Washington State Patrol?

 

A.  Washington State Patrol (WSP) fingerprint could meet the requirement if the covered individual has only resided in WA for the last five years. The background check must also include the fingerprinting requirement.

 

Q.  We do WSP checks on everyone. For our staff who work in licensed childcare, they do the DCYF background check in addition. Our DV and SA staff do the WSP. I quickly read the background paper you sent, and it appears that the WSP may not be sufficient. Will there be guidance on the various checks that need to be run and how we can access them?

 

A.  Washington State Patrol (WSP) fingerprint could meet the requirement if the covered individual has only resided in WA for the last five years. The background check must also include the fingerprinting requirement. If the covered individual has lived, worked, or gone to school at any time in a different state in the last five years, you will have to check that state as well.

Q.  Will grantees be able to utilize VOCA and/or VAWA funds to pay for fingerprinting?

 

A.  Yes

 

Q.  “An eligible fingerprint search/background check has been completed.” If fingerprinting is now required for all volunteers having contact with minors, will the cost for fingerprinting be a reimbursable expense on our grants?

 

A.  Yes.

 

Q. We are working through the list of FBI-approved channelers (entities that are authorized to provide finger-printing services, but that are not law enforcement based) to identify which company has current access and availability for these services. We are relieved that we can bill expenses for enhanced checks to our grants, but are unclear if that includes any additional costs we face in going through a channeler. Can you provide clarification there?

 

A.  Yes, costs associated with working with a channeler are allowable.

Q.  In reading the condition, it sounds like this is more than just requiring a background check (which we currently already do for all staff and volunteers). Am I reading it correct, that they want a written policy stating an org’s suitability for working with minors?

A.  No. The requirement is that the organization has written policies and procedures for making a determination regarding suitability for covered individuals relevant to the grant program to interact with minors, and those policies and procedures must include all of the federal requirements.

Q.  Do we need to have our staff submit to an initial fingerprint background check every five years? Or every one year (we run background checks annually on all staff and volunteers).

A.  The Fingerprint check is required every five years. Programmatic requirements may necessitate other actions.

Q.  How often do covered individuals need to be fingerprinted?

A.  How long a fingerprinted card is usable depends on the requirements of the organization processing the background check.

Q.  Should we be documenting the sex offender registry search results in our personnel and volunteer files?

A.  You are required to have documentation that the search was conducted, and this should be maintained in accordance with your document retention policies.

Q.  In reading the condition, it sounds like this is more than just requiring a background check (which we currently already do for all staff and volunteers). Am I reading it correct, that they want a written policy stating an org’s suitability for working with minors?

 

A.  No. The requirement is that the organization has written policies and procedures for making a determination regarding suitability for covered individuals relevant to the grant program to interact with minors, and those policies and procedures must include all of the federal requirements.

 

 

Q.  Do we need to have our staff submit to an initial fingerprint background check every five years? Or every one year (we run background checks annually on all staff and volunteers).

 

A.  The Fingerprint check is required every five years. Programmatic requirements may necessitate other actions.

 

 

Q.  Should we be documenting the sex offender registry search results in our personnel and volunteer files?

 

A.  You are required to have documentation that the search was conducted, and this should be maintained in accordance with your document retention policies.

Q.  Is there an option for a waiver if the time it takes to get the background check from other states is long? I have heard of it taking 2 – 3 months in some cases.

 

A.  Please contact your grant manager if you anticipate problems with compliance by March 30, 2020.

 

OCVA has been told that the FBI provides a report based upon their multi-agency database (federal, state, local agencies). You can have select post offices take the prints and submit the packet (it is more than just the fingerprint card) on-line.  If you submit on-line your response is also on-line, and faster.

Q.  Do we just have to let you know that we are in compliance, or do we actually have to send you the certification sheets? 

 

A.  Your grant manager at OCVA will provide you with a form to submit to OCVA.

Q.  There is a box on the fingerprint card “Reason Fingerprinted”. How should we answer?

 

A.  Select “Job Requirement”.

Contact Us

Office Of Crime Victims Advocacy

 

Washington State Department Of Commerce


P.O. Box 42525

1011 Plum Street SE
Olympia, WA 98504-2525


Grantee Line: 1-866-857-9889 

Fax: 360-586-7176


If you are a victim of a crime and are looking for services:  ocva@commerce.wa.gov


Direct Service Line:1-800-822-1067

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