Does CPS Run Background Checks?

A criminal background can often be a hindrance even after having repaid your debt to society. Employers and others in authority are less inclined to trust you.

Those that have a felony record tend to be the worst hit. Finding employment and decent housing is often tough.

Their interactions with CPS are also often prickly. This applies to both custody issues and finding work.

Though in reality, it would be very difficult for a felon to be hired in such a department. Especially if their offenses are of a violent nature.

However, there is some good reasoning behind background checks and children. Given how vulnerable kids can be, it is important to ensure they are in the custody of good people.

While felons can also be good people that just made a mistake, the severity of their offenses matters. In many states, certain felonies can result in the loss of parental rights.

does cps run background checks

But does CPS run background checks? Is that how they discover a person has a criminal record?

Let’s first learn a bit more about CPS. And why they might have concerns about criminal pasts.

What Is CPS?

does cps run the background checks

CPS stands for Child Protective Services. This is a state department that handles social service matters related to children. They operate under the guidelines provided by state and federal law.

They assess and investigate any reports of child abuse or neglect. If they deem it necessary, they may intervene and take away custody of the child. Alternatively, they may opt to offer ongoing support to the family.

The role of CPS is to ensure kids are in a safe environment. Where possible, they will work to have the abuser removed from the home first. The removal of the child is often taken as a measure of last resort.

In some cases, CPS must work with other agencies to protect the child. For instance, where there has been abuse, they may involve the police to investigate and prosecute the abuser.

While this department is referred to as CPS in many states, there are variations in others. It can also be called the Department of Child and Families(DCF) or Department of Social Services(DSS). There are many more variants and acronyms.

The work of CPS is highly important in safeguarding one of the most vulnerable groups in society. Children that are maltreated become at greater risk of becoming abusers later in life. The abuse can be sexual, physical, emotional, or negligence.

Victims are increasingly likely to abuse illicit drugs and develop mental health problems. They also tend to struggle more with academic achievement. High-risk sexual behaviors and unintended pregnancies are also a common occurrence in this demographic.

What Interventions Does CPS Apply?

does cps run the background checks guide

The goal is never to simply remove a child, but rather to ensure a safe environment. They will first attempt to work with the adults in the home to reduce whatever risk. If this fails and maltreatment continues, then removal may be pursued.

CPS will arrange for alternative housing and care of the child. This is often done through relations to the family or foster parents.

Preference is always given to the family. Counseling and other resources may be tapped to try and improve the home situation. This is done with hopes of reuniting the family.

When investigating reports of abuse, CPS will often run background checks on adults in the household. Foster care is also under their purview. As part of their evaluation of potential foster homes, they also run background checks.

This applies to all adults living in the same house. Background checks are also run on families looking to adopt. For children who can be accommodated by relatives, CPS will also run checks to ensure their safety.

So what exactly is delved into when running these checks?

Background Checks Conducted by CPS

The standard of an investigation into potential foster, adoptive, and kinship homes may vary according to state. However, in most instances, all adults in the household must go through a background check.

This will typically involve a criminal background check, including verification against sex offender registries. Their details will be checked against the county, state, and national crime databases. An FBI fingerprint check may also be done to ensure accuracy.

There are also child abuse and neglect registries. People often find themselves listed here when having been found to maltreat a child by CPS. These checks are done in every state the adult has lived in the last five years.

These background checks are also often conducted during abuse or neglect investigations. Jobs that fall under federal childcare regulations also require this investigation. This can include occupations such as nurses, teachers, and social workers.

It is also worth noting that some jobs may require these checks to be redone on an annual basis. This means that though you may secure the job, your keeping it partly hinges on remaining law-abiding.

Also depending on the particular jobs and type of organization you work for, additional checks may be done. This can include DMV records, credit checks, and verification of academic and work histories.


Having a felony or misdemeanor conviction can make trusting you with kids tricky. Even those that are your own.

However, CPS is not interested in breaking up happy homes. They need to ensure the people caring for kids have a good track record. Any history of violence, abuse, or neglect can be a cause for concern.

Because there will be a background check, you should be forthcoming with the truth. Whether the answer is yes or no, honesty is the best policy.

Those with non-violent offenses may be accepted for foster care or adoption. But they will need to meet the other set requirements. The same tends to apply to childcare occupations.

Having a criminal record does not entirely disqualify someone unless the offense is particularly serious. If you truly have a passion for childcare, make the necessary inquiries. If you do qualify, make the application.

There are many kids in need of a safe home. If you fit the bill, then take the necessary steps. The outcome will benefit a child and the community.

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