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 Check is requested by the hiring agency. This check is a web-based check and processed through OPWDD. This check is a search of records of previous employers in the OPWDD service system for substantiated allegations of abuse and neglect concerning a prospective employee or volunteer. The agency’s authorized person for the Criminal Background Check is the same person that is able to complete the MHL 16.34 check. All provider agencies are required to submit requests using the web form. Only web forms will be accepted. The steps are outlined below for the completion of the process.
All provider agencies will be required to submit requests using a web form. Only web forms will be accepted. The steps are outlined below for the completion of the submission process.
- Complete OPWDD Form 151 Request for MHL 16.34 Abuse/Neglect History Check entirely. The date of submission will default to the date the form is completed. Do not enter dashes for Social Security numbers. When entering a date of birth you must use the two digit month, the two digit day and the four digit year. Boxes 8-12 must be completed or the system will not allow you to proceed.
- When all information is completed and you will then have to complete OPWDD Form 152.
- Complete the work history portion of OPWDD Form 152. It is imperative that you enter the complete agency name (not acronyms or abbreviations), including the mailing address, if known. If the full address is not known, please enter the city and the state. There are a limited number of characters on this area of the form.
- If the applicant has no OPWDD work history, check the agency certification box at the bottom of the form.
- Upon submission of the OPWDD Form 151 and 152, an email will automatically be sent to the email address of the contact for your agency confirming that it has been received. OPWDD strongly suggests that each agency create a dedicated mailbox (which could be shared by more than one authorized agency representative) instead of individual staff names for this purpose and supply the email address to OPWDD.
Previous Employers within the OPWDD System
- Agencies that are required to search work history for a prospective employee will receive an email with a link to the OPWDD Form 153 Directive to Search Abuse/Neglect Records. The agency must complete this form and click submit. The information submitted will automatically be entered into the MHL database.
- Agencies who receive an OPWDD Form 153 Directive to Search Abuse/Neglect Records must comply with OPWDD regulations and respond to this directive within 10 working days so no delays are encountered by agencies awaiting the results of the searches.
- Agencies will be required to use the OPWDD Form 157 to provide a summary reports of any substantiated incidents of abuse to OPWDD that occurred or were discovered on or before June 30, 2013.
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.