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Background Check Unit (BCU)
Contact information:

Background Check Unit (BCU)

PO Box 14870
Salem, OR 97309
503-378-5470 (Salem)

To be eligible for payment from DHS, providers and other people in the household or facility who will have access to the children in care must pass a background check. This check is conducted by the DHS Background Check Unit and includes a criminal history check and a Child Protective Services (CPS) history check. 

You can use the links below if you want to quickly access specific information.

Who must be on the listing form to get a background check?

How are background checks done?

How long does the background check process take?

When are fingerprint cards required?

About the Notice of Fitness Determination

If I get denied, how do I request a hearing?

Who must be on the listing form to get a background check?

Background checks are required for all of the following who are 16 years old or older:

  • You, the provider;
  • Employees or staff who work in the child care facility (in facilities with more than one caregiver);
  • Substitute caregivers who will provide care when the primary caregivers are unavailable;
  • All members of the household in which care is provided, (including the parent, if the parent and provider live together);
  • All frequent visitors, or people who may have unsupervised access to the child in care, in the place in which care is provided.

One of the questions on the listing form asks if the person has any criminal arrests, convictions and/or Child Protective Services involvement. If you or any of the people you listed on the form marked "yes" to that question, you will need to attach a separate sheet of letter-size paper explaining the history, including each incident, date and location.

If you do not list everyone who is required, you will be failed in the background check process. That means you will not be eligible for payment, and you may have to repay payments you have already received. Each person listed must sign to authorize background records checks or the form will be returned.

A provider with a current registration or certification by the Child Care Division (CCD) who has already passed a background check may be required to have another background check by DHS.

How are background checks done?

Background checks are performed by the DHS Background Check Unit (BCU). DHS may use any available information, including criminal history checks, Child Protective Service (CPS) records of the Department, an investigation of a complaint, or information provided by another agency.

The Department may find a child care provider ineligible for payment based upon the history of any one of the people subject to a background check. A single incident may be sufficient history for denial of eligibility.

The decision is based on prior conduct that indicates that one or more of those individuals on the listing form is likely to engage in conduct that may jeopardize the safety of, or have a detrimental effect on, a child while in the care of the provider.

Disqualifications are determined by weighing the content and source of the reports, how long it has been since the reported behavior, the number of reports and referrals, the person’s participation in rehabilitation, training or counseling, and the likelihood of the person’s abuse of drugs or alcohol.

DHS may also determine the provider is still eligible for payment even though there is a founded or valid report. That decision would be based on a fitness determination that repeated behavior is unlikely and that the presence of the individual likely would not jeopardize the safety of a child in the provider's care.
A copy of the rules containing the list of crimes and potential disqualification periods can be found on the Background Check Unit rules Web site.

How long does the background check process take?

BCU can process most background checks quickly. However, the process can take longer if:

  • Fingerprint cards are required;
  • Records from other states must be obtained;
  • There are criminal or abuse/neglect records requiring review and a fitness determination.

When are fingerprint cards required?

Individuals will be required to submit fingerprint cards for a national records check if any of the following apply to any person on the listing form:

  • They have lived outside of Oregon in the last 18 months for 60 consecutive days or more;
  • They have convictions or arrests for crimes in other states;
  • They have an out of state driver’s license.

About the Notice of Fitness Determination

Once BCU has completed the background check, the provider will receive a Notice of Fitness Determination. The notice will indicate one of the following:

  • Approved
    This means you have been approved to receive payment to provide care to DHS clients. You are required to report any changes in your status within 10 days, including changes to your name, address, people who must be included on your listing form, or if you or people on your listing form become subject of criminal charges, or an investigation of abuse or neglect.
  • Failed
    This means that based on the information you provided, it is not possible to complete your background check at this time. This is due to missing or inaccurate information about someone on your listing form. For example, you could be failed for not providing a social security number or tax ID number, or not disclosing or providing explanation for an arrest or involvement with an abuse or neglect investigation. If you receive a notice you have been failed, you will need to reapply, being careful to provide all required information.
  • Denied
    This means it has been determined you are not eligible for payment from DHS. DHS also sends the family a notice that listing was denied, and that they must find another provider if they want to continue to receive child care assistance through DHS. Providers are denied when the decision of the fitness determination is that children would not be safe with one or more individuals on the listing form, due to the nature of their criminal history or history of abuse and neglect.

If I get denied, how do I request a hearing?

You may request a hearing if you disagree with a denial decision. The request must be received within 45 days of denial date.

If the problem is the history of someone in the household where care is provided, other than the provider, the provider can reapply if they change the location where care is provided, or if the individual whose background check resulted in a denial is no longer living or visiting that location.  If there are no such changes to the circumstances that caused the denial, the provider cannot reapply before 180 days from the date of denial.

To request a hearing, providers may submit a written request to:

DHS Background Check Unit (BCU)
PO Box 14870
Salem, OR 97309

Hearing request forms can be obtained from your nearest DHS office, or by following one of these links:

  • Hearing Request Administrative Review and Contested Case Hearing for Provider (DHS 0299) PDF | WORD 
  • Hearing Request - for Abuse and Criminal Records Checks with Adverse Outcomes (DHS 0299HR) WORD