Background Clearance after an Arizona Central Registry Exception

Background Clearance after an Arizona Central Registry Exception

Background Clearance after an Arizona Central Registry Exception

So, what is the Central Registry? The Department of Child Services (DCS) in Arizona maintains a database that contains any individual who has substantiated a claim of abuse or neglect. Any organization that provides services to vulnerable children or adults must run this Central Registry check to determine if an applicant for a job is on this list. If the applicant is on the list, they can’t get the job.

The individual applying for the job must apply for a Central Registry exception with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. After they obtain the Central Registry exception, it clears them, so they receive background clearance. Whoever they apply to afterward can offer them the job and employ them even though they’re on the list.

Does Obtaining a Central Registry Exception Remove an Individual from the Central Registry?

Obtaining a Central Registry exception does not remove an individual from the Central Registry. It only clears them and allows them to get employment from one of those organizations required to run the background check. I know it’s hard for many people to wrap their minds around, but you cannot be removed from the list except for an extraordinary time or decades before it’s automatically removed. 

So, once you are on the list, you’re on there for good essentially. The Central Registry exception is only needed when that individual applies for a job that services the vulnerable population in Arizona.

Now, there are a few cases where people get Central Registry exceptions.

Cases Where People Get Central Registry Exceptions in Arizona

They must pass if they apply for a job with one of those organizations. They have to get the Central Registry exception. To go through that entire process, many people move on to different employers where they’re not providing anything to vulnerable children or adults.

However, just because they have a substantiated claim of abuse and neglect doesn’t necessarily mean they’re terrible.

Passed Background Check

Individuals should be allowed with the background check or the Central Registry exception to pass the background check and then get employed.

The role of the Board of Fingerprinting is to judge if someone has been rehabilitated enough or has shown enough personal improvement in their life since the substantiated claim, which would then give the board confidence that this isn’t some predator out there.

Many people can get put on the list for not just heinous things. I guess that’s the best way of saying it. Incidents can occur with children that can lead someone to be put on the list but have no criminal effect. You could have a substantiated claim of abuse or neglect, but it never rose to the level of being charged criminally and ultimately convicted. So, these are the scenarios.

It would preclude you if you were criminally convicted of abuse or neglect by a child or a vulnerable adult. It’s called a precluded offense. It prevents you from getting a fingerprint clearance card and is unlikely to get a Central Registry exception.

So, that’s the background clearance when you receive a Central Registry exception.

What is the Arizona Central Registry Exception?

What is the Arizona State Central Registry Exception? 

The Arizona Central Registry is essentially a database of individuals in Arizona who have substantiated claims of abuse or neglect of children through the DCS (Department of Child Services) in Arizona. Suppose you’ve had criminal convictions for similar incidents, abuse, or neglect of children. In that case, you’ll be placed on the Central Registry

In Arizona, specific jobs require a background check, including a search of the Arizona Central Registry. Suppose you’re going to apply for a job requiring a background check, and you have substantiated claims of abuse or neglect or have had criminal convictions for the same of children. That job cannot hire you unless you get a Central Registry exception with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting.

How to Apply for the Central Registry Exception

Next, how would you apply for the Central Registry exception with the Board? The Board will want the documents associated with the substantiated claim to make the process as simple as possible. If there’s a criminal conviction, they need the court documents, the police records—that type of thing. Ultimately, the Board wants to know that if these things happened, the individual has been rehabilitated to some extent so that the Board feels comfortable allowing them to be around vulnerable children.

There are some crimes for which you cannot get a good cause exception, and you’ll never be granted a central registry exception. They have a list on the website with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. It’s in the Arizona Revised Statutes of what’s called precluded offenses.

You can appeal crimes with the central registry exception or good cause exception. And there are crimes where you will never get a fingerprint clearance card. Let’s break that down. If you did have a crime that put you on the Central Registry and is considered a precluded offense that completely stops you from ever getting a card, you’re out of luck. 

However, if you are put on the list for not a crime, but there was a child services investigation, and they substantiated a claim of abuse or neglect, that would be the situation where you would be able to apply for the Central Registry exception with the Board of Fingerprinting.

If nothing has happened since that time, meaning there has been no rehabilitation at all, you haven’t gone to counseling, haven’t done therapy or ethics training, or you have never been able to get custody of the child involved, that type of thing. It’s going to be very difficult to get the central registry exception. These are rare, to be honest. 

Most of the time, if someone does have a substantiated claim of abuse or neglect in their past, they’ll avoid applying for jobs where the Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card is necessary. However, a few want to go through with it, and that’s what this process is for.

So, that’s what a central registry exception is in Arizona.

Arizona Central Registry Board Hearing

The Board may grant a central registry exception at a hearing if the individual can show the Board they have successfully rehabilitated. The Board may also consider the person’s criminal record when determining whether or not they have been rehabilitated.

After the hearing, the Board will grant or deny a central registry exception. It usually happens within eighty days after the hearing.

Central Registry Hearing Factors

Before granting a central registry exception at a hearing, the Board considers any and all of the following:

1. Extent of the person’s central registry records.

2. Length of time that elapsed since the abuse or neglect occurred.

3. The nature of the abuse or neglect.

4. Any relevant mitigating circumstances.

5. The degree to which the person participated in the abuse or neglect.

6. The extent of the person’s rehabilitation, including:

  • Evidence of positive action to change the person’s behavior. It can include completing counseling, drug treatment, domestic violence counseling, or a parenting program.
  • Personal references attest to the person’s rehabilitation.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The length of the process can depend on some factors. Here’s how the process usually works. Once the Board receives a complete application package, they conduct an expedited review. It usually occurs within 20 days of receiving the package and criminal records from the DPS. 

At the expedited review, the Board either grants you a fingerprint clearance card or schedules you for a hearing. If you must appear at a hearing, the process may take three to four months.

Factors affecting the length of processing time include:

  • Whether your application is complete on submission. An incomplete application package will delay your appeal.
  • The amount of time you spend completing your application.

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