Background Checks

Community 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.

Section 87356 was updated on October 1, 2020 to allow DUIs to be included as simplified criminal exemptions as multiple nonviolent misdemeanor convictions arising out of the same incident. The updated regulations also eliminate the requirement for criminal record exemption applicants to submit police reports, and the five-year eligibility requirement will be calculated based on the date of conviction, rather than date of release or probation completion.

Guardian (goes live on January 15, 2021)

Guardian is a new electronic data system designed to streamline the background check process by allowing users to access real-time rosters, see and make associations and disassociations, and allow for uploading of exemption request packages, among other benefits.

To get started, licensees must complete the Guardian Licensee User Access form. Licensees with multiple communities throughout the state can attach additional information rather than filling out multiple forms.

For a recording of a Guardian demonstration video click here. Other information is accessible on the Guardian website, such as How to Add a New User to Your Guardian Account, a drop down menu for Agencies (facilities) with specific information, Resetting Your Password, and more.

If you have a general question you can send an email to or let us know. For Guardian login support you can email

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.

More Resources

Tips for Processing Applicants in Guardian (9/1/2022)

Guardian Webinar | Handouts (2/2/2022)

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