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The Legal Department articles are not intended to serve as legal advice and are offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in the article.
This article discusses the necessary steps for agencies to be authorized in California to submit Live Scan applications to the Department of Justice. Instructions regarding how to send applicants to be fingerprinted are also addressed.
Ann Tran-Lien, JD
Managing Director Legal Affairs
AB93, the BBS-sponsored bill that made substantial changes to the supervision requirements in 2019, also made changes to the “90-Day Rule.” The 90-Day Rule is another name for the licensing statute that allows postgraduates to count experience hours toward licensure, prior to the issuance of their registration, if they submit their AMFT Registration Application within 90 days of the degree award date.
This Rule does not apply to Trainees or Registered Associates. It applies only to post-graduate applicants who desire to continue to work and gain hours of experience after graduation, but prior to issuance of their registration. Therefore, Trainees and Registered Associates may work in agencies that do not require Live Scan fingerprinting. Post-graduate applicants are not allowed to work in a private practice setting until the registration is issued.
Most agencies in California require their applicants for employed or volunteer positions to be fingerprinted as a condition of employment. However, there are agencies throughout California that currently do not. With the passage of AB93, agencies and supervisors understandably have questions as to how an agency or non-profit counseling center can go about obtaining criminal background checks/reports from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for their applicants.
This article discusses the necessary steps on how an agency can be authorized in California to submit Live Scan applications to the DOJ, as well as once authorized, how to send applicants to be fingerprinted. Although the paperwork and application process appear to be complex and time consuming, the application process for agencies to become authorized is not as arduous as it appears.
Agencies Seeking to be Authorized
STEP 1. Determine if your agency is authorized by law to submit applicant fingerprints for background checks. If yes, your agency will need to complete and submit the appropriate application paperwork.
Not all employers and non-profit agencies can simply send their applicants to get Live Scan fingerprinting and obtain criminal history reports from the DOJ. California law authorizes certain types of private organizations to conduct criminal background checks to help determine the suitability of a person applying for employment or a volunteer position working with children, the elderly, and/or individuals with a disability. Nonprofits and in-home supportive care agencies are a few of the organizations authorized to conduct Live Scan background checks. In order to be an agency that can submit Live Scan applications to the DOJ and request background reports, the agency must be authorized by law and approved by the DOJ. For the list of agencies that are commonly authorized by law and the corresponding Authorization Request Packet, visit: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/forms.
Nonprofit Counseling Centers/Agencies
Non-profit counseling centers or agencies that provide mental health services to minors or hires employees or volunteers in positions that involve the care/security of children, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with a mental illness most likely will qualify as a “Youth Organization/ Human Resources Agency;” see the relevant Authorization Request Form at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/forms/crimrecpkg.pdf.
The law defines an Employer (Youth Organization) or Human Resources Agency as follows:
An “Employer (Youth Organization)” is defined as any nonprofit corporation or other organization specified by the Attorney General in which employees or volunteers have supervisory or disciplinary power over a minor or person under their care and are responsible for the care and security of these individuals.
A “Human Resource Agency” is defined as a public or private entity responsible for determining the character and fitness of a person applying for 1) a license, employment, or a volunteer within the human services field that involves the care and security of children, the elderly, the handicapped, or the mentally impaired, and/or 2) a volunteer who transports individuals impaired by drugs or alcohol.
STEP 2. Determine if your agency would like to receive subsequent arrest notification information for applicants once they are employed.
Agencies may also apply to receive subsequent arrest notification information for individuals for whom criminal background checks were requested. Subsequent arrest services must be requested in writing and are not retroactive for individuals printed prior to receipt of the subsequent notification agreement. The Subsequent Arrest Service Contract can be found at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/forms/subarr.pdf. If interested, your agency must complete and submit the form along with your Authorization Request Packet to the DOJ.
NOTE: In the event your agency does not hire the applicant, or the employment relationship with the individual has concluded, your agency must notify the DOJ in order to stop receiving subsequent arrest notifications for that individual. To notify the DOJ, your agency must submit the No Longer Interested Form found at:https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/forms/nli.pdf.
STEP 3. Your agency will need to designate an individual who will serve as the Custodian of Records (“COR”) and submit the appropriate forms.
The COR is responsible for the hiring decisions, and for the security, storage, dissemination, and destruction of the criminal records furnished to the agency, and who serves as the primary contact for the DOJ. There may be more than one designated COR.
In order to serve as a COR, the individual must:
Before an agency can become fully authorized by the DOJ, the designated COR must first be approved by the DOJ. In the Authorization Request Packet, you will find a Custodian of Records Application for Confirmation Form. Complete this form and have the COR sign the Use of Applicant Criminal Offender Record Information Form. These forms will be submitted with the completed Packet to the DOJ.
NOTE: Keep the pre-filled Custodian of Records Request for Live Scan Service Form (BCIA 8016) to be used in Step 4.
After submitting the Authorization Request Packet to the DOJ, the Applicant Information and Certification Program within the DOJ will determine if your agency is authorized and ready for the next step. Inquiries regarding authorization can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEP 4. Upon notification of authorization, the agency must have its designated/ approved COR submit Live Scan fingerprinting to the DOJ and pay the associated fees.
Once your agency receives authorization from the DOJ, your agency’s designated and approved COR must submit fingerprint images to the DOJ via Live Scan. A total of $79 in fees will be collected at the Live Scan Satellite Location: $49 state/ federal background check fees along with a $30 confirmation fee).
The COR should bring the Custodian of Records Request for Live Scan Service Form (BCIA 8016) with them to the Live-Scan facility. Your agency must enter all of its information in the “Employer (Additional response for agencies specified by statute)” field, with the exception of the Mail Code on the BCIA 8016 Form in order for the DOJ to process the submission.
Confirmation will be denied or revoked if COR applicants have been convicted of:
NOTE: Do not submit the COR’s Live Scan before your agency is officially authorized to request criminal record information. Doing so will result in fees being assessed, which will not be refunded.
Sending Applicants to Obtain Live Scan
Once your agency receives the COR Confirmation from the DOJ, you are ready to send applicants to get fingerprinted.
The following are steps on how an authorized agency can send its applicant to complete Live Scan fingerprinting.
STEP 1. Find the correct Live Scan Form on the DOJ website and fill out the required information.
Your agency must provide the correct form for applicants to bring with them to the Live Scan facility. A Live Scan operator will not take fingerprints if the applicant does not present one of the specified forms on the DOJ website at: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/agencies.
Most agencies that provide mental health services use Form 8016—Request for Live Scan Services, which can be accessed at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/forms/BCIA_8016.pdf.
Your agency must complete all of the agency’s information (including Agency ORI, Mail Code, etc.) on the Request for Live Scan Form. When applicants arrive to the Live Scan facility, they must have a completed form to present to the Live Scan operator. If the form is not completed by the agency, the applicant cannot be fingerprinted. Any errors or mistakes in the information may cause delays or result in the applicant having to be re-fingerprinted (along with paying the associated fees).
NOTE: A copy of the applicant’s Request for Live Scan Service Form should be provided to BBS post-graduate applicants who are required to submit the form with their Application for Licensure to the BBS.
STEP 2. Remit processing fees to the DOJ.
Criminal background checks are processed for a fee by the DOJ. For the list of current processing fees, visit: htps://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/forms/fees.pdf.
Some agencies pay the processing fees for their applicants and others require the applicants to do so. Agencies have the option of paying the fees directly to the Live Scan operator or establishing a billing account at the time of the agency’s authorization. If your agency establishes a billing account, the DOJ will invoice the agency for the processing fees. (The processing fees do not include the fingerprint rolling fees charged by the Live Scan operator/site. Such rolling fees must be paid directly to the Live Scan operator/site.)
Agencies who have established a billing account with the DOJ will receive a billing invoice monthly, either electronically or via U.S. mail. A credit card transaction form can be submitted in order for agencies to pay invoices by credit card.
STEP 3. Send your applicant(s) to get fingerprinted.
Once your agency has provided the completed form to an applicant, provide them with a list of Live Scan sites near your agency. A list can be found at: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations. Let your applicant know that they must present a valid photo ID when being fingerprinted.
STEP 4. Obtain Live Scan results/criminal history reports.
Once the applicant submission is received and processed, the DOJ will respond to the agency either electronically, via U.S. mail, or via a secure mail server. In most circumstances, results are released to the agency within three business days. However, agencies should allow approximately seven business days before making a status inquiry. There may be some processing delays and they can be the result of:
If your agency has not received results after a minimum of seven business days from the time fingerprints were submitted, you can use the Applicant Background Check Status at applicantstatus.doj.ca.gov to check on the status of the submission.
Additional Helpful Information
Criminal record history reports are confidential:
Agencies have the responsibility to keep criminal record history information of all applicants, employees, and volunteers confidential, including responses that no criminal record history exists, unless expressly authorized by the individual.
Any information received must be kept in a secure and confidential file. Only the designated COR and/or individual person responsible for confirming the character and fitness of an applicant may access the file. Any release of information to unauthorized individuals can result in civil fines and criminal penalties.
Agency contact/name changes: If an agency moves or changes agency name or contact information, the agency must notify the DOJ by submitting the Applicant Submitting Agency Request to Change Form, which can be found at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/forms/bcia-8386-change.pdf.
Rejection of Live Scan: Occasionally, the FBI may reject fingerprints due to poor quality fingerprints even if the images were accepted by the DOJ. If this occurs, the applicant will need to be reprinted using the original ATI (OATI) submission number. If rejected because of poor quality by the FBI on the second attempt, the applicant agency must request an FBI name check. To do so, the agency must complete and submit to the DOJ the FBI Name Check Request Form, which can be found at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/fingerprints/fbinamecheck.pdf. The name check must be received by the DOJ within 75 days of the second rejection notice, or the applicant will have to be re-fingerprinted.
Ann Tran-Lien, JD, is a staff attorney and the Managing Director of Legal Affairs at CAMFT. Ann is available to answer member calls regarding legal, ethical, and licensure issues.
This article is not intended to serve as legal advice and is offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in this article.