The Department of Children & Families has a dedicated Unit, located within the Careline, assigned to process the background checks. Upon request, the Background Check Unit will perform a search of the Department's Central Registry and Child Abuse & Neglect history on an individual who will be working or providing a service directly or indirectly to children and/or families. The Department changed the process to submit CPS Background Checks in June 2021. CPS Background Checks are now submitted via the DCF CPS CPS Background Check Portal. The Department is still requiring a release form from the applicant. Release forms can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are three types of background checks:
Criminal Records Checks are handled by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, 860-685-8480, You must use form DPS-0846-C to request a check and pay the applicable fee. DCF does NOT process criminal checks.
Who can request a background check?
How do I request a background check?
Which form do I use?
Guidelines for Completing Forms
How to Submit a Background Check Form
What kind of results can I expect?
Who will receive the results?
Exceptions and Timeframes
What do I do if a background check is a "fail"?
Who can I contact with questions?
Employment - Use form DCF-3031 (Child Protective Services Background Check)
The Department of Children & Families Background Checks Unit will perform a search of the departments Central Registry and Child Abuse & Neglect history on an individual who will be working or proving some kind of service directly or indirectly to children and families.
Adoption and Foster Care - Use form DCF-3033 (Adoption and Foster Care Background Check)
This includes, but not limited to; prospective foster or adoptive parents, individuals who will be working in a DCF licensed congregated care facility or a DCF licensed community-based or credentialed services.
The BGC Unit is also responsible to process checks for national and international agencies, due to the passage of the Adam Walsh Act in 2006. For instance, out of state Child Protective Service Agencies.
Directions for Adam Walsh requests:
- Must be on the Agencies' Letterhead;
- Must contain the individuals demographic information. (e.g. date of birth, names of children, etc…);
- Completed letters should be faxed to: 860-560-7071, or emailed: DCF.BackgroundCheck@ct.gov
- Information should be submitted through the CPS Background Check Portal for processing
- Anyone seeking to find their own status on the Central Registry / history.
- State Agencies (e.g., The Office of Early Childhood, State Department of Education, Department of Developmental Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc.)
- DCF (Interdepartmental Units)
- Prospective Employers (All)
- Licensing Authorities (In & Out of State Residential & Congregate Care Settings)
- Daycare Settings (Out of state, where permitted by law)
- Adoption/Foster Care Agencies (In & Out of State)
An Authorization for Release of Information must be signed and dated by the applicant. If you are unsure which form to use, see "which form do I use?" below. Please ensure the signed form is submitted within the designated time frames outlined on the form. The form should be submitted to the Department following successful submission of a request via the CPS Background Check Portal.
Use DCF-3031 (CPS Background Check) for:
- Day Care
Use DCF-3033 (Adoption and Foster Care Background Check) for:
- Foster Care - Guidelines for Completing Release Forms
When securing the release form from the applicant, please ensure that the form meets the following guidelines:
- Agency information must be clearly entered at the top of the forms;
- Form must contain applicant signature and be dated;
- Forms must be legible (printed/filled in on computer or typed);
- Forms cannot be altered. (e.g. write-out, cross out, form design changed without DCF approval, etc..);
- Reason for requesting a BGC must be selected, (employment, volunteer, etc..);
- No blank spaces (if there is a section that does not apply, "N/A" must be entered.);
- If applying to more than one employment agency that requires a DCF check , the applicant must submit a separate form for each agency. The applicant only grants authorization to share information with one agency per form.
- Any forms that do not meet these guidelines will be returned to the requestor and or agency without processing.
- Email: DCF.BackgroundCheck@ct.gov
- Mail: DCF-Background Check Unit, 505 Hudson Street, Hartford, CT 06106
Confirmation of submission will be visible via the portal on your agency's dashboard. If after two weeks you do not receive the results of any form(s) you sent in, please use your agency dashboard via the portal to request an update. Additionally, questions can be submitted via email to: DCF.BackgroundCheck@ct.gov
Confirmation of submissions will be visible on your agency dashboard via the CPS Background Check Portal. All results will be received via email to your agency's shared mailbox.
When using the DCF-3031 (CPS Background Check) form:
- the information disclosed is whether the applicant is or is not on the Central Child Abuse Registry
- the results of the central child abuse registry status are entered in the designated box on the top of the form, dated and initialed by the background check unit processor.
What information may not be disclosed?:
- The existence of an unsubstantiated allegation of abuse and neglect
- A substantiated allegation that has been appealed or pending an appeal
- A substantiated allegation, if timeframe for requesting an appeal has not yet expired
- A pending open investigation
When using the DCF-3033 (Adoption and Foster Care Background Check) form:
- all substantiated and unsubstantiated information is disclosed
- If the applicant is cleared the form is labeled as “NO Record Found,” dated and initialed by the processor in the designated box at the top of the form
- If there is any information to be disclosed, a letter will be sent with such information.
For Adam Walsh:
- All applicable history is disclosed
- If there is no history for the individual, a statement of “No Record Found’ is stamped, dated and initialed onto the letter
- When there is history, a letter is sent to the requesting agency with detailed information about the findings.
All results are sent to the requesting agency's shared email mailbox that was provided to the Department by the agency. If an individual has submitted a self-check, they will receive the results in the same manner in which they submitted their request (mail, fax, or email)
The results are sent directly to the agency and it would be up to such agency to provide the individual a copy of the results.
DCF may disclose that a person is on the Central Registry before the time for requesting an appeal has expired or while an appeal is pending if the child abuse or neglect resulted in or involved:
- The death of a child;
- The risk of serious physical injury or emotional harm of a child;
- The serious physical harm of a child;
- The arrest of the person due to abuse or neglect of a child;
- A neglect or termination of a parental rights petition has been filed by the Commissioner;
- Sexual abuse of a child.
There is NO statutory timeframe established to process a background check.
- Average timeframe is now under 2 weeks
- Time frame varies on each individual search
During peak seasons, it may take longer than 2 weeks
Adam Walsh background checks are usually completed within 48 hrs.
If after two weeks you do not receive the results of any form(s) you sent in, please use your agency dashboard via the portal to request an update. Additionally, questions can be submitted to email DCF.BackgroundCheck@ct.gov
The failed individual can send an appeal request in writing to: DCF-Legal Division, 505 Hudson Street, Hartford, CT 06106; or email to: DCF.APPEALS@ct.gov
A DCF-2210B (Request for Appeal of Substantiation Finding(s)/Recommendation for Placement on Central Registry) form must be completed by the applicant and included with their request.
NOTE: the DCF-2210B form is also available in several different languages:
- DCF-2210-B(AR) – Arabic
- DCF-2210-B(FR) – French
- DCF-2210-B(FR-CA) – French-Canadian
- DCF-2210-B(HC) – Haitian-Creole
- DCF-2210-B(SP) – Spanish (Español)
To contact the Background Check Unit, call 1-800-842-2288 and press option #6