Group & School Age Child Care, Residential & Placement Licensing Policy Statement
Number: P-EEC-BRC-08-01

View this notice: Interim Optional Policy Regarding Hiring While DCF Check Is Pending pdf format of Policy Regarding Hiring While DCF Check Is Pending
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EEC regulations prohibit a hiring authority from confirming an offer of employment until the satisfactory completion of both a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) investigation and a Department of Social Services (DSS) Background Record Check investigation of the candidate. Further, the regulations prohibit a candidate from commencing employment until after the candidate is cleared as a result of the CORI and DSS Background Record Check investigations, in accordance with 606 CMR 14.00.

As required by EEC licensing regulations, EEC licensed programs have a legally mandated obligation to provide sufficient staffing to assure proper supervision of the children enrolled in these programs so that safe and appropriate early care and education services are provided. Both EEC and its licensed programs recognize that delays in the Background Record Check (BRC) process hinder a program's ability to hire staff expeditiously and meet its regulatory obligations regarding staffing.

This new interim Policy is designed to give relief to programs experiencing delays in the processing of DSS Background Record Checks Please note that anyplace where this Policy conflicts with EEC's Background Record Checks Technical Assistance Paper, this Policy will govern until further notice.

Notwithstanding the provisions of 606 CMR 14.07, the hiring authority may, upon the hiring authority's election 3, permit a candidate to commence employment and count in ratios, prior to the completion of the DSS Background Record Check investigation, but only under the following circumstances:

  • A CORI investigation of the candidate has been completed and the candidate has been "CORI-cleared" by the hiring authority. "CORI-cleared" means:
    • The results of the CORI investigation have resulted in a finding of "no record"; or
    • The hiring authority has granted discretionary approval to hire the candidate in accordance with the provisions of 606 CMR 14.11(1) and/or (2) based on a full and complete review of all CORI investigation findings, and has documented in writing the rationale for the CORI discretionary approval to hire and keeps such document in accordance with the provisions of 606 CMR 14.11.
  • The candidate is then permitted to be hired conditionally, subject to successful completion of the DSS Background Record Check investigation. 4 The CORI-cleared only employee may be counted in ratios, but may not have any unsupervised contact with children.
  • The CORI-cleared only employee may perform the duties of the position for which he or she is qualified by background and experience as set forth in EEC regulations and may be counted in ratios. However, the CORI-cleared only employee may not have any unsupervised contact with children pending the satisfactory completion of the DSS Background Record Check investigation. This condition must be documented in writing by the hiring authority in both the candidate's BRC file and in written correspondence addressed directly to the candidate.

    In addition, programs must ensure that both administrators and staff are aware of which employees have only been CORI-cleared and, therefore, are not permitted any unsupervised contact with children. Programs that avail themselves of this procedure must include in their BRC policies the method by which they plan to notify administrators and staff regarding which employees are not to have any unsupervised contact with children. Programs are reminded the EEC BRC regulations, as well as statutes governing both CORI and DSS information, require that such information be kept strictly confidential Accordingly, programs must consider this in drafting their BRC policies, and EEC suggests that programs adhere to the following best practices:
    • When informing administrators and staff which employees may not have unsupervised contact with children, Licensees and/or Reviewers with Authority must emphasize that this status in no way implies that an employee has any adverse Background Record Check information; and
    • If a conditional offer of employment is withdrawn based upon denial of discretionary approval, programs must ensure that any inquiries as to why a conditional employee is no longer on staff should be met with a response stating that information regarding personnel decisions cannot be discussed and that no one should draw any negative conclusions based upon the fact that the conditional employee is no longer working at the program.
  • Upon receipt of the DSS Background Record Check investigation data, and within two weeks of receipt of the DSS 51B report, the hiring authority must document the completion of the candidate's DSS Background Record Check investigation and that the candidate has been "DSS Background Record Check Cleared." "DSS Background Record Check Cleared" means:
    • The results the DSS Background Record Check have resulted in a finding of "no finding"; or
    • The hiring authority has granted discretionary approval to hire the candidate in accordance with the provisions of 606 CMR 14.11(3) based on a full and complete review of all DSS Background Record Check investigation findings, and has documented in writing the rationale for the DSS Background Record Check discretionary approval to hire and keeps such document in accordance with the provisions of 606 CMR 14.11(3).

Programs that choose to avail themselves of the hiring procedures outlined in this Policy must add the procedures outlined above to their BRC policies.

In conclusion, it must be emphasized that a candidate must never be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children unless the candidate undergoes the satisfactory completion of the entire BRC process. The "satisfactory completion of the entire BRC process" means that the candidate must be cleared as a result of both the CORI investigation and the DSS Background Record Check investigation as follows:

  • (a)The results of both the CORI investigation and the DSS Background Record Check investigation have resulted in findings of "no record/no finding;" or
  • (b)The hiring authority has granted discretionary approval(s) to hire the candidate in accordance with the provisions of 606 CMR 14.11, based on a full and complete review of all CORI investigation findings and DSS Background Record Check investigation findings, and has documented in writing the rationale for the discretionary approval(s) to hire.

1 Programs are not required to utilize this Policy and may still elect to wait for the results of both the entire CORI investigation and the entire DSS investigation prior to making hiring decisions. Those programs that do avail themselves of this Policy must follow all the requirements set forth in this Policy and must apply this Policy to all applicants. This Policy cannot be applied to certain applicants and not to others.

2 This Policy is applicable to candidates for employment with Group, School Age, and Residential programs, and Foster and Adoption Placement agencies. This Policy is not applicable to prospective foster and adoptive parents.

3 The hiring authority may choose to continue to wait in making any offers of employment until the both the entire CORI investigation and the entire DSS investigation are satisfactorily completed.

4 Programs are reminded that, under the EEC Background Record Check Regulations, they must ask on their application for employment if a candidate has been found to have abused or neglected a child either in Massachusetts or elsewhere. Programs are further reminded that disclosure by a candidate of either a criminal record or a DSS history must be kept confidential and must be filed with the candidate's BRC information.