Background Checks


Assisted Living employees and volunteers (with some exceptions) must have criminal background check clearance prior to working in an RCFE.

Background Check Regulations

Section 87355 of Title 22 regulations addresses the requirements for criminal background checks, including information on:

  • Who must be fingerprinted
  • Who is exempt from the requirement
  • The process and forms necessary to complete a background check

Section 87356 addresses the circumstances under which DSS will consider an exemption from criminal background check requirements and how to apply. CCLD has added information regarding background check exemptions to their Evaluator Manual.

Criminal Record Clearance Transfers

Transferring an employee’s criminal record clearance to an additional or new community can sometimes be confusing. The employee does not have to wait for confirmation from CCLD before beginning work in the additional or new community. Section 7-1100 of the July 2012 Update to the Evaluator Manual states:

All clearance transfer requests must be submitted to the Department before the subject, who is subject to the transfer, has client contact or the licensee will be in violation of the law and subject to a $100 civil penalty. A subject need not wait for a confirmation of the transfer before he/she can begin work or be present in the facility.

This is especially important in the event of a disaster or outbreak when the ability to quickly transfer staff is vital. However, this does not apply to transfers of criminal background check exemptions.

DOJ Custodian of Records

In 2011, The Department of Justice (DOJ) began sending notices to RCFEs regarding their “custodian of records” (COR) requirement. The notices stated that all entities that receive any criminal history information, including a notice of “no record,” must designate a COR. That individual was required to be fingerprinted and cleared through a separate process from the clearance used for employment.

CALA questioned this interpretation since the DSS clearance that all RCFE employees undergo appears to be set to a higher standard than the COR clearance. Working with DSS and DOJ, CALA was able to confirm that the COR requirement was inappropriately applied to RCFEs. DOJ is no longer requiring licensees to designate a COR and undergo redundant background checks.

For more information, read the COR clarification letter from DOJ.

More Resources

Criminal Background Check Clearance Concerns, ” CALA Bulletin, September 2008 (Members Only)

Legal Issues Associated with Volunteers,” CALA News & Views Summer 2012

Partnering with Outside Service Providers,” CALA News & Views Fall 2012