Foster and Adoptive Homes

Who is required to have a fingerprint-based FBI check in a foster or adoptive home and when does it have to be completed?

You must complete fingerprint-based checks prior to verification or approval of the home for both:

  • Prospective foster or adoptive parents, and
  • Persons 14 years or older who reside in a prospective foster or adoptive home.

Who is required to have an Out-of-State Abuse/Neglect History check in a foster or adoptive home and how do I retrieve this history?

Child-placing agencies or independent foster homes must complete an out-of-state abuse/neglect history check for foster or adoptive parent applicants and any other adult living in the foster or adoptive parent's home if the individual has lived outside of Texas any time during the previous five years. See Out-of-State Background Check Resource Guide for Child Care Employees and Foster and Adoptive Parents for information on how to obtain this information from another state.

If a state that maintains a child abuse and neglect registry does not comply with requests for information from another state, the licensed child-placing agency should notify its Licensing representative so that state office can bring this to the attention of the Administration for Children and Families regional office for Texas.

If one of my foster or adoptive applicants had an FBI fingerprint check processed when they were certified as a teacher (or nurse, police officer, etc.) does this person need a new FBI fingerprint check as part of the verification or approval process?

Which foster home visitors are NOT required to have a background check?

HHSC does not require all visitors to a foster home to submit their names for a background check. Keeping in mind the need for children to be in a normal, family-based setting, Child Care Licensing does not require background checks on frequent child visitors (aged 14-17) to the home unless:

  • The child is responsible for caring for the children (e.g. a babysitter),
  • The child is related to the foster parent, or
  • There is reason to believe the person has a criminal history or a history of abusing or neglecting a child.

Child Care Licensing also does not require background checks for frequent adult visitors to the foster home unless:

  • The adult is related to the foster parent,
  • The adult has unsupervised access to the children, or
  • There is reason to believe the person has a criminal history or a history of abusing or neglecting a child.

Can I complete the fingerprint check at the end of the verification or approval process?

As long as the check is complete before you verify or approve the home, you can require them at any time.

After receiving the results of a criminal history check requested by my child-placing agency, what requirements must I follow in order to protect this confidential information?

Your Child-Placing Agency should protect criminal history record information (CHRI) by complying with the following guidelines:

  • Do not share CHRI with anyone who does not have a business need to access the information.
  • If CHRI is received electronically, the records should be stored electronically as well. Printing copies of results received electronically is discouraged.
  • For any electronic files containing CHRI, login and password information should be required before the information can be accessed by authorized person(s).
  • If CHRI on paper is received, ensure that paper documents are securely maintained and protected from unauthorized view at all times. Storage should be in a locked location with only limited access by those who have a business need.