Summary of An act relative to background checks (H. 4307)

Early Educators
Requires the Department of Early Education and Care to conduct national fingerprint-based background checks before issuing any license. This will cover background checks for all EEC licensed facilities and employees, which include family child care, center-based child care, and after-school programs. All individuals who have the potential for unsupervised contact in a department-approved program will be required to have a national fingerprint-based background check.

K-12 Employees
Requires both public and private schools to obtain national fingerprint-based background checks of current and prospective employees who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children.

Fees
There is a fee associated with conducting these background checks, made up of three parts;

  1. the cost to take and process fingerprints,
  2. the administrative cost to the state of processing the background check materials between the schools and child care centers and the FBI, and
  3. the FBI’s fee for running a national fingerprint-based background check.

Fees for early educators and K-12 employees who are not required to be licensed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (such as paraprofessionals) will be capped at $35. Fees for K-12 employees licensed by DESE will be capped at $55. Because the checks are conducted once, this is a one-time fee.

Early education programs and school districts may reimburse applicants for all or part of the fee.

Reporting
Requires the Department of Criminal Justice Information Systems to report annually on the cost of operating and administering the background check system.

Compliance with CORI
The bill requires that these national fingerprint-based background checks be conducted in a manner that is consistent with CORI requirements.

Fingerprint background check process
Fingerprints will be submitted to the identification section of the Department of State Police and forwarded to the FBI for a national criminal history check. The Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) may retain fingerprints so that if an individual who has been checked goes to work for another child-care center or school district, that individual does not have to be checked again, but the employer may obtain the background check results from DCJIS.

Implementation
All prospective employees going forward will be required to undergo a national fingerprint-based background check, as will all current employees. The schedule for conducting all of these checks is to be phased in beginning September 1, 2013, and current employees must be checked within 3 years of that time (by September 1, 2016).

Summary provided by the Joint Committee on Education/January 2013

Full Text of the Act