The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Miscellaneous Laws

"The Criminal Background Checks for the Protection of Children Act"

D.C. Code Ann. §§4-1501 et se.

The District of Columbia requires criminal background checks to be conducted on applicants who are applying for certain employment and volunteer positions which provide services to children and youth. The Criminal Background Checks for the Protection of Children Act, pertains to applicants for employment or volunteers with any District government agency that provides direct services to children or youth (up to age 17) as well as applicants for employment or volunteers with any private entity that contracts with the government to provide these services. The covered services include both direct services to children and youth as well as those services that affect the health, safety and welfare of children and youth including individual and group counseling, therapy, case management, supervision and mentoring.

The frequency and the extent of the background checks correspond with both the level of contact with the children and youth required by the position as well as the level of supervision under which the employee would work. The Act requires the applicant to submit a signed affirmation stating whether or not the applicant has been convicted of a crime, has pleaded nolo contendere, is on probation before judgment or placement of a case upon a stet docket, or has been found not guilty by reason of insanity for any sexual or intra-family offense in any state or territory. In this affirmation requirement, the Act also includes a list of felony offenses including murder, assault, robbery, child abuse, and distribution or possession of a controlled substance. The Act states that it is the Mayor who determines whether, based on information obtained from the criminal background check, the applicant is unfit for employment as a child or youth services provider. In other words, information revealed by the background check does not automatically disqualify an applicant or create a presumption against employment or volunteer status. Instead, the Act provides a list of factors the Mayor will consider in determining whether the applicant poses a present danger to children or youth. Only applicants who have been convicted, pleaded nolo contendere, placed on probation, or been found not guilty by reason of insanity, for any sexual offense involving a minor are barred from employment without regard to the delineated factors.

 

Updated 7.19.16 K.S.C.