Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers

The factsheet below discusses the requirements set by States for conducting background checks of prospective foster and adoptive parents and other out-of-home caregivers, as well as any adults residing in the prospective caregivers' households. These checks, including State and Federal criminal records and child abuse and neglect central registries, are part of the process of assessing the suitability of these caregivers to provide a safe home for children placed in their care. The circumstances that will disqualify an applicant also are discussed. An overview of Federal requirements also is provided. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.


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Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). Background checks for prospective foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau.


This publication is a product of the State Statutes Series prepared by Child Welfare Information Gateway. While every attempt has been made to be as complete as possible, additional information on these topics may be in other sections of a State's code as well as agency regulations, case law, and informal practices and procedures.

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