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Background Screening Unit (BSU)


BSU Online Credit Card Payment System

Using the BSU Online Credit Card Payment System, providers can pay for employment background screenings using MasterCard and Visa!  

Please have your Facility/Program Code available.Review Instructional Guide


BSU Overview

Myra Burks
Manager, Background Screening Unit

The Background Screening Unit (BSU) assists the Department in meeting its goal of hiring applicants who meet statutory and agency standards by conducting Level II pre-employment screening and 5-year re-screening pursuant to Chapters 435, 984985 and 943, Florida Statutes, and the Department's background screening policy and procedure. Background screening is conducted on state and contract provider directors, owners, applicants, employees, volunteers, mentors, and interns. The term contract provider includes grant recipient employees, volunteers, mentors, and interns.

The Department requires two background screenings. The Livescan screening which is required prior to being employed or becoming a volunteer and the 5-Year Rescreen, which is required to ensure that employees and volunteers maintain Level II standards.

Background screenings consist of a state and national fingerprint check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as well as a demographic search of the Florida Clerk of the Courts through the State’s Judicial Inquiry System (JIS). As a criminal justice agency, the Department has access to juvenile, sealed, and expunged criminal history information.

The 5-Year Rescreen must be completed on all state and contract provider employees and volunteers every five years of employment or service. The five-year increments are calculated s follows:

For DJJ (State) employee's/volunteer's from the date of hire/utilization

For contract/grant providers, from the date fingerprints are electronically transmitted to the Clearinghouse.

The BSU uses Livescan technology to electronically submit fingerprints to FDLE. Livescan enables FDLE to immediately provide Arrest Notifications to the BSU on both state and contract provider employees who are arrested during the term of their employment.

Background screenings are rated using one of three classifications listed below. These classifications are based on the applicant's criminal history:

  • Eligible
  • Identified/Non-Caretaker Only (DJJ State Employees Only)
  • Ineligible/Disqualified

Applicants and volunteers who receive eligible ratings may be hired or utilized in all positions. Applicants and volunteers who receive identified/non-caretaker only ratings cannot work/volunteer in a facility/program and can only be hired or utilized in a position where they do not have contact or access to youth or confidential youth records. Applicants and volunteers who receive a rating of ineligible/disqualified can not be hired or utilized until the Department grants an exemption. 

There are 56 disqualifying criminal offenses set forth in Sections 435.04 and 985.644, Florida Statutes. Click the highlighted statute to view this link.

To be ineligible/disqualified from employment, an applicant must have been found guilty of, pled guilty to, or pled no contest or nolo contendere, to at least one of the charges listed in Chapter 435 and 985.644, Florida Statutes. Dispositions of withheld adjudication will also be rated ineligible/disqualified.

The Department may not remove a disqualification from employment or grant an exemption to any person who receives a rating of ineligible/disqualified under Chapter 435, or 985.644, Florida Statutes, until at least three (3) years have elapsed since the applicant completed or was lawfully released from confinement, supervision, or sanction for a felony disqualifying offense. If the disqualifying offense is a misdemeanor, or was a felony when committed, but is now a misdemeanor, the applicant can apply for an exemption once he/she has completed all sanctions associated with that offense. The Agency Head decides whether or not an exemption should be granted or denied and makes a final decision on behalf of the Department. If there is an abuse of discretion by the Department, exemption denials made by the Agency Head may be reconsidered via a formal Division of Administrative Hearing pursuant to Section 120.57, Florida Statutes.

Questions relating to background screening should be directed to the BSU at generalbsu@djj.state.fl.us or (850) 921-6345. The background screening policy and procedure should also be referred to for detailed instructions on how to initiate the screening process.


Contract and Grant Providers,

Clearinghouse implementation is scheduled to occur on Monday, August 1, 2016.

To initiate a background screening or receive screening results through the Clearinghouse, provider pre-registration must be completed.

Note: You must reset your password every 90 days to keep it active. If it has been 90 days since you registered, we encourage you to take a minute to log into the Clearinghouse portal and reset your password.

Clearinghouse


Important Reminders


  • Monday, August 1, 2016-DJJ and Livescan providers/vendors began processing DJJ provider screenings through the Clearinghouse under DJJ’s new employment and volunteer ORIs..

 

  • Providers must pre-register for Clearinghouse use. For instructions on how to gain access to the Clearinghouse, click on the “SSO User Guide for DJJ Providers” tab above.
    • (Complete the pre-registration process and send forms to the Background Screening Unit (BSU).

 

  • New fees will apply. Clearinghouse fees are estimated at *$69.00 and up. Livescan provider/vendor fees may vary. (*This is a conservative estimate and may not be the actual rate.)

 

  • Verification of the applicant’s driver’s license and social security number is a Clearinghouse requirement. These documents must be faxed or e-mailed to the BSU each time a screening is initiated in the Clearinghouse. Our confidential fax number and e-mail address are as follows: (Fax# (850) 921-6348 or e-mail address: Generalbsu@djj.state.fl.us.

 

  • Provider applicants and employees working in a Residential or Detention facility or program must complete the PREA-Criminal History Acknowledgement Form IG/BSU-003. Human Resource staff must maintain a copy of this form in their personnel file and fax or e-mail a copy to the BSU each time a screening is initiated in the Clearinghouse. (Note: This form can be printed from the DJJ website and is only required when screening individuals for a Residential or Detention facility or program.)

 


EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY


All persons required by law to be screened must be eligible before they can have contact with youth or youth records.

An employer may hire an applicant to a position that requires background screening before screening is completed for training and orientation purposes only. During training and orientation, the applicant may not have contact with youth or youth records or be on the grounds where youth are housed or receiving services until the screening process is completed and the applicant demonstrates that he or she exhibits no behaviors that warrant the denial or termination of employment.

REPORTING ARRESTS

If an employer becomes aware that an employee or volunteer has been arrested for a disqualifying offense, the employer must take the following actions until the arrest is resolved:

Remove the employee or volunteer from contact with all youth and youth records

  • Remove the employee or volunteer from the grounds where youth are housed or receiving services

 

Prior Screening Conducted by DJJ or another Specified Agency

 

If a person has been screened through the Clearinghouse by one of the other specified state agencies and a Department Contract Provider (DCP) wants to hire that individual, the DCP must:

  • Check for the applicant on the Clearinghouse Results Website (CRW)
  • If the applicant has been screened, their status will display Agency Review Required.
  • You must then request a FREE Agency Review
  • The BSU will receive the request and make an eligibility determination
  • The applicant’s status will display the new determination on the CRW

A New screening may be required if:

  • There is a break in service and the person has not been employed with any of the specified agencies for more than 90 days
  • The criminal history (fingerprint results) housed in the Clearinghouse is more than five years old 
  • After five years, subsequent fingerprint retention fees have not been paid

Specified State Agencies

  • Agency for Health Care Administration
  • Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • Department of Children and Family Services
  • Department of Education-Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Department of Elder Affairs
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Juvenile Justice



Initiating a Screening


It is very important for all screenings to be initiated through the Clearinghouse website prior to sending an applicant for fingerprinting to a Livescan Service Provider. Initiating the original screening online will provide the privacy policy required for the employee to be included in the Clearinghouse and will also supply a view of the Florida Public Rap Sheet. Also, initiating the screening affords the ability to track a screening through the process and email updates when an applicant’s or employee's status has been changed or updated.

SCREENING RESULTS

Evidence of screening must be retained in the personnel files for those screened.

CRIMINAL HISTORY CONFIDENTIALITY

Level 2 screening records are confidential and may not be shared with anyone other than the individual that was screened.

PROCESSING DELAYS

If the court’s finding is missing from the criminal history report, DJJ will contact the person screened through certified mail (based on the address submitted to FDLE) for additional information, which will delay the processing of the screening.

The employer should contact the person screened if delays exist.


Exemption Process


The following documents are required when applying for an Exemption.

  • Complete and submit the Request for Exemption from Ineligibility form (Form IG/BSU-005 Part II)
  • Submit the required documents, statements, and letters of recommendations as outlined in Form IG/BSU-005 Part I
  • Applicants seeking an exemption have the burden of setting forth clear and convincing evidence she/she should not be disqualified from employment or as a volunteer, including, but not limited to:
  1. The circumstances surrounding the criminal incident for which an exemption is sought,
  2. The time period that has lapsed since the incident,
  3. The nature of the harm caused to the victim,
  4. The history of the person since the incident,
  5. Or any other evidence or circumstances indicating the person will not present a danger if employment is allowed.

An exemption denial made by the Agency Head or his or her designee may be appealed to the Division of Administrative Hearing (DOAH) pursuant to section 120.57, F.S.  


Who must be screened?


Governing Statutes: 985.644 and 435.04

Each contract entered into by the department for services delivered on an appointment or intermittent basis by a provider that does not have regular custodial responsibility for children and each contract with a school for services must ensure that all owners, operators, and personnel who have direct contact with children are subject to level 2 background screening pursuant to chapter 435.

A volunteer who assists the department or any program for children on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month need not be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement of this section is always present and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight.

All contract provider and grant recipient:

  • directors,
  • owners,
  • applicants,
  • employees,
  • volunteers,
  • mentors,
  • interns,
  • and researchers.

Exemption from Disqualification (Ineligibility):


In accordance with section 435.07, Florida Statutes, persons disqualified from employment may be granted an exemption from disqualification. The granting of an exemption does not change an individual’s criminal history. It only provides eligibility for employment in a health care setting. An individual seeking an exemption must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that an exemption from disqualification should be granted. The application will be reviewed and a decision made once all relevant documentation, listed in the Exemption Form Instructions below, has been received. A person is not eligible to apply for an Exemption from Disqualification until:

  • He/she has been lawfully released from confinement, probation or other sanction for a disqualifying misdemeanor criminal offense;
  • At least 3 years after he/she has been lawfully released from confinement, probation or other sanction for a disqualifying felony criminal offense.
  • Persons designated as sexual predators, sexual offenders or career offenders are not eligible for an Exemption from Disqualification.

An exemption cannot be granted to a person solely by reason of a pardon, executive clemency, or restoration of civil rights.

Exemptions granted by other agencies shall be considered by the Department, but are not binding on the Department.


Screening Fees


SCREENING FEES

Livescan and 5-Year Rescreen (resubmission) fees may vary depending upon the Livescan provider fees.

  • Livescan fees are estimated at $69.00 and up
  • 5-Year Rescreen (resubmission) fess are estimated at 45.00 and up
  • 90 day Resubmission fees (break in service of more than 90 days) are estimated at 22.00 and up