43.215.210  <<  43.215.215 >>   43.215.216

RCW 43.215.215

Character, suitability, and competence to provide child care and early learning services—Fingerprint criminal history record checks—Background check clearance card or certificate—Shared background checks. (Effective until July 1, 2018, then recodified as RCW 43.216.270.)

(1) In determining whether an individual is of appropriate character, suitability, and competence to provide child care and early learning services to children, the department may consider the history of past involvement of child protective services or law enforcement agencies with the individual for the purpose of establishing a pattern of conduct, behavior, or inaction with regard to the health, safety, or welfare of a child. No report of child abuse or neglect that has been destroyed or expunged under RCW 26.44.031 may be used for such purposes. No unfounded or inconclusive allegation of child abuse or neglect as defined in RCW 26.44.020 may be disclosed to a provider licensed under this chapter.
(2) In order to determine the suitability of individuals newly applying for an agency license, new licensees, their new employees, and other persons who newly have unsupervised access to children in care, shall be fingerprinted.
(a) The fingerprints shall be forwarded to the Washington state patrol and federal bureau of investigation for a criminal history record check.
(b)(i) Effective July 1, 2012, all individuals applying for first-time agency licenses, all new employees, and other persons who have not been previously qualified by the department to have unsupervised access to children in care must be fingerprinted and obtain a criminal history record check pursuant to this section.
(ii) Persons required to be fingerprinted and obtain a criminal history record check pursuant to this section must pay for the cost of this check as follows: The fee established by the Washington state patrol for the criminal background history check, including the cost of obtaining the fingerprints; and a fee paid to the department for the cost of administering the individual-based/portable background check clearance registry. The fee paid to the department must be deposited into the individual-based/portable background check clearance account established in RCW 43.215.218. The licensee may, but need not, pay these costs on behalf of a prospective employee or reimburse the prospective employee for these costs. The licensee and the prospective employee may share these costs.
(c) The director shall use the fingerprint criminal history record check information solely for the purpose of determining eligibility for a license and for determining the character, suitability, and competence of those persons or agencies, excluding parents, not required to be licensed who are authorized to care for children.
(d) Criminal justice agencies shall provide the director such information as they may have and that the director may require for such purpose.
(e) No later than July 1, 2013, all agency licensees holding licenses prior to July 1, 2012, persons who were employees before July 1, 2012, and persons who have been qualified by the department before July 1, 2012, to have unsupervised access to children in care, must submit a new background application to the department. The department must require persons submitting a new background application pursuant to this subsection (2)(e) to pay a fee to the department for the cost of administering the individual-based/portable background check clearance registry. This fee must be paid into the individual-based/portable background check clearance account established in RCW 43.215.218. The licensee may, but need not, pay these costs on behalf of a prospective employee or reimburse the prospective employee for these costs. The licensee and the prospective employee may share these costs.
(f) The department shall issue a background check clearance card or certificate to the applicant if after the completion of a background check the department concludes the applicant is qualified for unsupervised access to children in care. The background check clearance card or certificate is valid for three years from the date of issuance. A valid card or certificate must be accepted by a potential employer as proof that the applicant has successfully completed a background check as required under this chapter.
(g) The original applicant for an agency license, licensees, their employees, and other persons who have unsupervised access to children in care shall submit a new background check application to the department, on a form and by a date as determined by the department.
(h) The applicant and agency shall maintain on-site for inspection a copy of the background check clearance card or certificate.
(i) Individuals who have been issued a background check clearance card or certificate shall report nonconviction and conviction information to the department within twenty-four hours of the event constituting the nonconviction or conviction information.
(j) The department shall investigate and conduct a redetermination of an applicant's or licensee's background clearance if the department receives a complaint or information from individuals, a law enforcement agency, or other federal, state, or local government agency. Subject to the requirements contained in RCW 43.215.300 and 43.215.305 and based on a determination that an individual lacks the appropriate character, suitability, or competence to provide child care or early learning services to children, the department may: (i) Invalidate the background card or certificate; or (ii) suspend, modify, or revoke any license authorized by this chapter.
(3) To satisfy the shared background check requirements of the department of early learning, the office of the superintendent of public instruction, and the department of social and health services, each department shall share federal fingerprint-based background check results as permitted under the law. The purpose of this provision is to allow these departments to fulfill their joint background check responsibility of checking any individual who may have unsupervised access to vulnerable adults, children, or juveniles. These departments may not share the federal background check results with any other state agency or person.
(4) Individuals who have completed a fingerprint background check as required by the office of the superintendent of public instruction, consistent with RCW 28A.400.303, and have been continuously employed by the same school district or educational service district, can meet the requirements in subsection (2) of this section by providing a true and accurate copy of their Washington state patrol and federal bureau of investigation background check report results to the department or if the school district or the educational service district provides an affidavit to the department that the individual has been authorized to work by the school district or educational service district after completing a record check consistent with RCW 28A.400.303. The department may require that additional background checks be completed that do not require additional fingerprinting and may charge a fee for these additional background checks.
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