DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 7: Relative Home Approvals
7-13  Director's Exemption: Criminal Record
Relative Home Approvals
7-13  Director's Exemption: Criminal Record
Reference Points
Overview
When Is a Director's Exemption Needed
When Is a Director's Exemption Not Needed
When an Exemption Cannot Be Approved
Criteria for a Simplified Exemption
When a Simplified Exemption Cannot Be Used
Procedures for a Simplified Exemption
Confidentiality of Criminal History Information
Procedure for Standard Director's Exemption
Attachments Required for a Standard Exemption
Recommendation to Deny an Exemption
Placing Another Child in a Home in which a Director's Exemption Was Obtained
Other Resources


Reference Points
Effective Date: 5/1/07
Last Updated: 1/30/12
 Legal Basis:
PDF2 Community Care Licensing (CCL) Evaluator Manual - Background Checks
PDF2 California Department of Social Services (CDSS) All County Letter (ACL)No. 06-40: Impact on Licensed Foster Family Homes and Family child Care Homes and Relative/NREFM Caregiver Approvals
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word

Request from Applicant for Director's Exemption (SCZ 200N)

MS Word Relative/Non-Relative Extended Family Member Criminal Record Exemption (SCZ 572) - Simplified Exemption
MS Word Director's Exemption Regarding WIC 361.4(d)(3) Memorandum (SCZ49)
PDF2

Out-of-State Disclosure & Criminal Record Statement (LIC 508 D)

PDF2  LIC 508 D (Spanish)

PDF2  LIC 508 D (Vietnamese)

MS Word

Exemption/Review Decision Letter (SCZ 200P)



Overview   The Department is able to exempt individuals with criminal conviction records under a waiver granted by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). These individuals would otherwise be disqualified from becoming a relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM) caregiver or from being allowed to be a member of the caregiver's household for purposes of approving the home. There are some convictions that are non-exemptible. The CDSS waiver requires the Department to follow guidelines contained in the Community Care Licensing (CCL) Evaluator Manual that outlines the criteria for exempting individuals with criminal convictions.
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When is a Director's Exemption Needed  

An exemption must be approved by the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS') Director prior to approval of a relative/NREFM home for any individual:

  • Who has been convicted of a felony or more than one (1) non-violent misdemeanor or
  • Who is on supervised or formal probation.

Individuals who must have an approved exemption due to a criminal conviction or being on probation include all adult members of the household and, prior to placement of the child, any adult who frequents the home and, as a result, will be having significant contact with the child.

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When is an Director's Exemption Not Needed  

It is not necessary to submit a request for a Director's Exemption when:

  • An individual has a history of minor traffic infractions, which are not classified as misdemeanors or felonies. An infraction is an offense punishable only by a fine.


  • There are other deficiencies that prevent approval of the relative or NREFM home. 
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When an Exemption Cannot Be Approved  

An exemption cannot be approved for any individual:

  • Convicted of a crime on the federal non-exemptible crimes list if the conviction occurred within the past five years.
  • Convicted of a crime on the federal five-year  ban crimes list.
  • For whom there is an active warrant and the criminal charge is for any category of crime other than a non-violent misdemeanor.  (See CCL Evaluator Manual, Section 7-1812)
    • A warrant is a legal process initiated at the municipal or superior court level.  If an individual has been cited/arrested for any crime, and that individual does not make a mandated court appearance, a judge will issue a warrant for that individual’s arrest.
    • Before an exemption is denied due to an outstanding warrant, the social worker must contact the agency that issued the warrant to determine if the warrant is still outstanding or valid.
    • The social worker may consult County Counsel if there is a pattern of behavior on the criminal history that could be considered "conduct inimical."

  • Who is currently on parole.
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Criteria for a Simplified Exemption  

Also, see situations when a simplified exemption can not be used.

If an individual's criminal record reflects all of the following, a simplified exemption may be submitted:

  • There is only one (1) non-violent misdemeanor conviction, and no other convictions
  • The crime does not pose a risk of harm to any individual
  • It has been at least 5 years since the completion of the most recent period of incarceration or supervised probation
  • If the probation was informal or unsupervised, it has been at least five years since the date of the conviction
  • The individual does not have a demonstrated pattern of criminal activity
  • The person was not initially charged with a felony, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor conviction



If the individual does not meet the criteria for a simplified exemption, a standard Director's Exemption can be considered.

Examples of misdemeanor crimes that may meet the criteria for a simplified exemption include:

  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Welfare fraud
  • False identification to a police officer
  • Unlawful assembly/picketing
  • Perjury
  • Drawing a check on insufficient funds
  • Petty theft
  • Driving under the influence
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When a Simplified Exemption Cannot Be Used  

A simplified exemption cannot be used in the following situations:

  • If there is any conviction within the preceding five years.
    • If a violation involved Juvenile Court conviction while the person was under the age of 18 years, it cannot be used as a basis to deny an application.
  • If there is any serious arrest within the last three years that meets the investigation criteria.
  • If the individual has any felony or violent misdemeanor convictions.
  • Though not indicated, it appears that the crime is a felony based on the sentence. 
    • If during the standard exemption process it becomes evident that the crime was a misdemeanor and other simplified exemption criteria is met, you may revert to the
      simplified exemption process.
  •  
  • The rap sheet indicates that the individual was initially charged with a felony, or a crime listed on the Serious Crime List or Non-Exemptible Crime List crime but the charge was reduced and the person was subsequently convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • The individual is currently on supervised or formal probation or on parole.
  • The individual already has an exemption for another conviction(s).
  • There has been an Administrative Action taken against the individual.
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Procedures for a Simplified Exemption  

To complete a simplified exemption, the social worker:

  • Reviews all of the criminal record check responses from Live Scan, which include DOJ record, CACI and FBI.

  • Has the prospective caregiver request a Director's Exemption in writing, using the Request from Applicant for Director's Exemption (SCZ 200N) or the caregiver may write a request on a sheet of paper.

  • Completes the Request for Relative/Non-Relative Extended Family Member Criminal Record Exemption (SCZ 572).


  • Submits the SCZ572, with a copy of the Review Request Letter (SCZ200N) attached, to the supervisor for review and approval.

  • Sends the caregiver an Exemption/Review Decision Letter (SCZ 200P), to inform the caregiver of the Department's decision to grant or deny the exemption, after the social work supervisor and Social Services Program Manager (SSPM) have reviewed the form



The social work supervisor:

  • Reviews the SCZ 572 form.
  • Signs and dates the form, if approving the recommendation to exempt.
  • Forwards the form to the Social Services Program Manager (SSPM).



The SSPM:

  • Signs and dates the SCZ 572 form, if approving the recommendation to exempt.
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Confidentiality of Criminal History Information  

Penal Code Section 11505(b)(11) authorizes the social worker or Department representative to share specific criminal history information with the individual whose criminal history is reviewed, but not with the individual's employer or spouse or the prospective caregiver or co- applicant.

If the social worker is discussing the need for a Director's Exemption with the caregiver about another adult who has a criminal record, the social worker can tell the caregiver that:

  • The individual has a criminal history
  • That the offense is exemptible or non-exemptible
  • Whether the individual may remain in the home or must be immediately excluded

These confidentiality laws do not apply to the sharing of an exemption decision, which does not list criminal history or public records, such as Judgment of Conviction or criminal complaints, which were obtained during the exemption process.

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Procedure for Standard Director's Exemption  

The standard Director's Exemption process is used for individuals with convictions for crimes that do not meet the criteria for a simplified exemption.  The social worker will have reviewed the criminal record check responses from CLETS and Live Scan and determined that a standard exemption request is required.  To complete a standard exemption, the social worker:

  • Notifies the prospective caregiver that he/she or an individual residing in his/her home has been convicted of a crime requiring an exemption by the DFCS Director.

  • Has the prospective caregiver request a Director's Exemption in writing, using the Exemption/Review Request Letter (SCZ 200N).

  • Completes the Director's Exemption Regarding WIC 361.4(d)(3) Memorandum (SCZ49).
    • For exemption requests due to an individual being on probation , the social worker includes:
      • The type of probation and
      • Any conditions for the exemption related to the offense and terms of the probation (e.g., for DUI’s, the person is not to drive the child in any vehicle).

  • Submits the SCZ49 with required attachments to the supervisor for review and approval .

  • Sends the caregiver an Exemption/Review Decision Letter (SCZ 200P), to inform the caregiver of the Department's decision to grant or deny the exemption, after the Department Director reviews the request and grants or denies the request .



The Social Work Supervisor:

  • Reviews the SCZ 49 form.
  • Signs and dates the form, if approving the recommendation to exempt .
  • Forwards the form with attachments to the (SSPM).



The SSPM:

  • Signs and dates the SCZ 49 form, if approving the recommendation to exempt.
  • Forwards the form with attachments to the Department Director.



The Department Director:

  • Reviews the request.
  • Signs and dates the SCZ 49, if approving the recommendation to approve the request.
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Attachments Required for a Standard Exemption  

When submitting a standard exemption request, the social worker attaches:

  • A signed copy of the original Criminal Record Statement (LIC508d).

  • The written request for an exemption from the caregiver on behalf of the individual needing the exemption.

  • A written statement by the individual describing the events surrounding each conviction, including:
    • The approximate date of the incident
    • What happened
    • Why it happened
    • What he/she has done since the conviction to ensure he/she will not be further involved in criminal activity. i.e., how his/her life has changed to prevent him/her from committing this type of offence, again.
    • Any other information he/she believes is important to relate about the incident

  • A copy of the police report regarding the crime.
    • The relative home approval applicant or household member with the criminal conviction is responsible for obtaining the police report. 
      • Individuals convicted of a crime in Santa Clara County can generally obtain a police report through the District Attorney's Office.
    • Social workers may assist in obtaining police reports.  See OPP Chapter 19-8: How to Request a Police Report, Crime Lab Report or Crime Analysis Report.
    • If a police report has been destroyed, the applicant must obtain a letter from the law enforcement agency stating that the report has been destroyed.

  • Three character reference letters, including the telephone number and address of the person writing the reference letter, regarding and solicited by the individual needing the exemption.
  • For individuals on probation, a letter from the probation officer documenting the conditions of probation and the individual's compliance with the conditions.
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Recommendation to Deny the Exemption  

When the social worker recommends that the individual be denied an exemption, the social worker:

  • Attaches a certified Judgment of Conviction document for each conviction
    • The Judgment of Conviction is issued from the clerk of the court in the county where the conviction occurred.

  • Advises the caregiver of the grievance procedure available to contest the denial .
    • The right to grievance procedure applies only to a denial of exemption for the caregiver. The right to a grievance procedure does not extend to other adults in the caregiver's home who are denied an exemption.

Although denial of a recommendation to exempt an individual precludes the possibility of approving the home, the social worker completes all approval procedures in order that all assessment factors are considered, in the event that the caregiver requests a grievance review.

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Placing Another Child in a Home in which a Director's Exemption Was Obtained   Refer to OPP Chapter 7-6: Annual Reassessments and Updates section titled Placing Another Dependent Child into the Home.  Essentially,

it is not necessary to obtain a new Director's Exemption for criminal convictions for the caregivers, adults in their homes or other adults with significant contact with the child. There should not be any new convictions that are not already dealt with, because the Department has established subsequent arrest notification with the Department of Justice for all individuals whose backgrounds have been checked for a relative home approval.

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Other References  
bullet2 How to Request a Police Report, Crime Lab Report or Crime Analysis Report
bullet2 DFCS Child Welfare Handbook 31-421.4-.413(g)
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