DHHS Criminal Background Checks
NEW: Provider Access to ABCMS is Live!
North Carolina Child Care Providers can obtain access to the Provider Access to ABCMS after completing the Moodle training and completing the form afterward. Once providers are logged in, you can access codes to allow your staff and applicants to create a connecting application to link themselves to your facility. The links include help documents to assist you.
The Division of Child Development Early Education Criminal Background Check Unit performs background checks for several programs within DHHS. Additional information about some of those programs, as well as contact information, can be found in the “More Information” box on this page.
Childcare Background Checks
Background Checks are conducted under the authority of G.S. 110-90.2. This authority is also laid out in 45 CFR 98.43 and 10A NCAC 09 .2703.
The Automated Background Check Management System (ABCMS) launched September 29, 2022 and can be found at this link. DCDEE has developed a user guide that you can find here. Due to legislation passed in July 2022, all background checks are now valid for five years, regardless of what your letter may currently say. Directors can contact the CBC Unit if they have questions. See the July 22, 2022 issue of “Raising North Carolina” for additional information.
Obtaining a Background Check
All child care background checks, whether in-state or out of state/interstate begin with obtaining a NCID. DCDEE has developed a Job Aid for help in creating a NCID. NCIDs must be obtained by individuals and cannot be used to obtain someone else’s background check. NCID is a single sign on solution and is the “key” to the ABCMS “door”. Support for NCID is provided by NC Information Technology Services or by telephone at 919.754.6000.
The Automated Background Check Management System (ABCMS) launched September 29, 2022 and can be found at this link. DCDEE has developed a user guide that you can find here.
Following your application, you should take your Fingerprint Release Form to a local law enforcement agency that can provide fingerprinting services. The following link will allow you to search law enforcement agencies by zip code and/or city and state. You will be able to search law enforcement locations that will fingerprint applicants electronically, and this process is referred to as livescan fingerprinting.
If the LEA does not have a livescan device, a card will be printed and handed to the applicant to submit to DCDEE by mail (address below).
Map Livescan Locations (nbinformation.com)
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has provided a resource to advise the status of processing fingerprints. You can find that resource here. Do not contact the SBI to inquire about a background check; they do not have this information. Thank you to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in providing this information.
What is a Child Care Background Check?
The North Carolina Child Care Law (General Statute 110-90.2) requires a criminal background check (CBC) be conducted and a determination of fitness be made on all persons who work or provide child care in a licensed or regulated child care facility.
All individuals who reside in a family child care home and are age 16 and older must also complete a criminal background check, regardless of whether they are caring for children or not.
Each prospective child care operator and provider (which includes any household member, age 16 and older), must complete the criminal background check (CBC) and receive a valid CBC Qualification letter prior to:
- Being hired by a child care facility
- Receiving a license to own or operate a child care facility
- Becoming a household member of a family child care home (FCCH) or center located in a residence
- Moving into a FCCH or center located in a residence
- Working as a substitute in a child care facility
- Working as an uncompensated provider who will be counted in staff/child ratio or left alone with children in a child care facility.
A Criminal Background Check includes checking each of the following:
- Federal and North Carolina State Fingerprint Databases
- National and North Carolina Sex Offender Registries
- NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) database for state name check
- Responsible Individuals List (RIL) - The RIL is a list of those individuals that have been substantiated against for child abuse or serious neglect through NC's local departments of social services.
- Child Maltreatment Registry (CMR) - The CMR is a list of individuals who have maltreated a child in child care since the January 2016 Session Law 2015-123 took effect.
- State Criminal history database for name check, sex offender registry, and child abuse/neglect registries from any other state of residency within the last five (5) years, if applicable.
Criminal Background Check every 5 years
A criminal background check must be completed every five years. If an applicant changes employment while their qualification letter is valid and 180 days have not passed since employment in child care, the applicant must present a copy of the letter to the new employer to be kept on file. DCDEE recommends that applicants not let their criminal background check expire, so applicants should renew prior to the expiration date of the CBC letter. An individual may have their criminal background recheck completed as early as six months prior to the expiration date that is noted on the qualification letter. If an applicant has not been employed in child care within the last 180 days, a new application must be completed.
Owners Notification to DCDEE
Owners/Directors must notify DCDEE when a new employee is hired or moves into their facility by submitting a Change of Information form to the Criminal Background Check Unit. The owner/director must maintain a valid copy of each employee’s CBC Qualification letter on file.
What Disqualifies an Applicant?
Multiple criteria are used when determining if an individual is qualified to work in licensed child care in NC. If an individual is on the Sex Offender Registry, Responsible Individual List, or Child Maltreatment Registry, they are automatically disqualified. Some pending charges or convictions may also result in an automatic disqualification or may require a different review process. Please review the Criminal Background Check Review Policy for further information regarding the process for criminal charges or convictions.
Applicant Who Has Been Disqualified
If an individual is currently disqualified to work in child care, the individual must contact the Division of Child Development and Early Education, Criminal Background Check Unit (919-814-6401) to see if they are eligible to submit a new application for review. The applicant will not be allowed to submit a new application in the CBC Portal without prior approval from the CBC Unit.
Out of State Applicants and Applicants Who Have Lived Out of State Within the Last 5 Years
Applicants who currently live out of state, or have lived out of state within the last five (5) years must obtain and submit a criminal history report and a child abuse and neglect registry check from the states they have lived in. To obtain a criminal history report and a child abuse neglect registry check for any state(s) you have resided in click on the following link: Out Of state contact information.
Submit the report(s), along with the Fingerprint Submission Release form to the Criminal Background Check Unit by uploading this information into ABCMS, within seven (7) days from the date the NC application is completed in the Portal
Out of State CBC result submission procedure:
Any out of state information, fingerprint release forms or internal review packets can be uploaded to ABCMS or emailed to [email protected].
DHHS Criminal Background Check Unit/Child Care Team
2201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2200
- The criminal history report must reflect the applicant’s legal and current first and last name and must be consistent with the name used on their application. Out of state criminal history report(s) must have been completed within the last 90 days (of date the forms are mailed to the CBC Unit).
- South Carolina residents may contact the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) at www.sled.state.sc.us. Virginia residents may contact the Virginia State Police (VSP) at www.vsp.state.va.us. For other states contact the State Repository.
- Record checks from local law enforcement or other criminal record agencies are not acceptable and will delay the process if submitted. An application for criminal background check review is not considered complete until the Criminal Background Check Unit receives all required valid out of state reports.
What Happens if a New Charge or Conviction Occurs After Being Qualified?
All child care providers and household members who have incurred any pending charges, indictments or convictions (other than minor traffic offenses) since the last qualification letter was issued by the DHHS Criminal Background Check Unit must notify the operator of such charges within five business days or before returning to work, whichever comes first. The operator must notify the Criminal Background Check Unit within one business day of being notified. 10A NCAC 09 .2703.
Any new charges or convictions could result in a disqualification. In addition, if the individual has been placed on the Responsible Individual List (RIL), Child Maltreatment Registry (CMR), or the Sex Offender Registry (SOR), this will result in a disqualification.
For any additional questions please contact the Child Care Criminal Background Check Unit at (919) 814-6401 or Fax (919) 715-0987 or email at [email protected]