Four (4) background checks that are required for persons who will have the potential for regular and substantial contact with individual receiving services in the OPWDD service system.  In order to complete these checks the agency needs to first have staff designated as an authorized person (AP) permitted to request checks and receive information.  To designate such persons, the agency must complete the Authorized Person forms for both the Staff Exclusion List (SEL) and the Criminal Background Checks (CBC) and submit the forms to the NYS Justice Center.  OPWDD strongly encourages agencies to have more than one authorized person. The Authorized Person forms can be found on the NYS Justice Center’s website at https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/pre-employment-checks.

The required background checks are the Staff Exclusion List (SEL), Criminal Background Check (CBC), Mental Hygiene Law 16.34 (MHL 16.34), and the Statewide Central Registry Database Check (SCR).  The Staff Exclusion List check  must be completed first and results received prior to requesting any other background check. The Staff Exclusion List and Criminal Background Check checks need to have been fully completed prior to allowing staff to work with individuals in the OPWDD service system. For the MHL 16.34 and Statewide Central Registry Database Check checks, staff may work with individuals but only under direct supervision, until the results of those checks have been received and reviewed by the agency. 

Staff Exclusion List

The Staff Exclusion List (SEL) contains the names of individuals found responsible for serious or repeated acts of abuse and neglect in New York State. Individuals on the Staff Exclusion List are prohibited from being hired by any agency or provider under Justice Center jurisdiction. The Staff Exclusion List is maintained by the NYS Justice Center and requests for the Staff Exclusion List check are submitted to the NYS Justice Center. Additional information can be found at https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/search/sel

Criminal Background Check

The Criminal Background Check (CBC) must be requested prior working with individuals within the OPWDD services system. This check is requested through the NYS Justice Center. The Justice Center reviews the applicant’s criminal history, and makes an initial determination on whether the applicant can be considered for hire for the position the check was requested for. The agency’s authorized person for the Criminal Background Check must be the one to request the check. The authorized person is sent a secure email message advising that the results of the determination are available in the Justice Center’s Criminal Background Check system. Providers must update the Justice Center’s CBC system within 14 days of a change in applicant’s status, i.e. hired, no longer hired, etc. Additional information can be found on the NYS Justice Center’s website at https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/criminal-background-check-cbc-process.

Mental Hygiene Law 16.34 Process

The Mental Hygiene Law 16.34 Background Check process is initiated by a request from the hiring agency’s authorized person(s). This background check is web-based and processed through OPWDD. This background check is a search of records provided by previous employers in the OPWDD service system of substantiated allegations of abuse and serious neglect by a prospective employee or volunteer. The agency’s authorized person(s) for the MHL 16.34 background check process is the same authorized person(s) for the Criminal Background Check.

All provider agencies are required to submit requests only through the web-based process. The steps for submission are outlined below.

Hiring Agency

  1. The authorized person(s) must submit the web based OPWDD Form 151 Request for MHL 16.34 Abuse/Neglect History Check . The date of submission will default to the date the form is submitted. When entering a date of birth, you must use the two-digit month, the two-digit day and the four-digit year.  The only two fields that are not required are Alias or Maiden Name and Middle Initial/Name.  If these fields are applicable be sure they are completed.
    Mental Hygiene Form Page Image
  2. Upon submission of the web-based OPWDD Form 151, an email will be sent to the email address of the authorized person(s) for the submitting agency. The email confirms the form has been successfully submitted.


Processing by OPWDD

OPWDD will complete a search of records.  If a summary report is found for substantiated incidents of abuse or neglect, which occurred or was discovered prior to June 30, 2013, the summary report will be provided to the requesting agency’s authorized person(s) and the applicant simultaneously. If one is not found, OPWDD will send the no results (OPWDD Form 154) to the requesting agency’s authorized person(s).


Statewide Central Registry Database Check

Statewide Central Registry Database Check (SCR) is conducted through the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) for state operated and voluntary service providers. OPWDD Registered Providers must go through OPWDD’s Incident Management Unit for these checks. IMU submits the checks to OCFS and provides the results back to the OPWDD Registered Providers. The SCR maintains records of child abuse and maltreatment. If there is an indicated result, the agency is to obtain as much information as possible in order to make a suitability determination. The agency can submit a release of information to OCFS to obtain additional information on an indicated result.

Additional information about the SCR can be found on the Office of Children and Family Services website.