Criminal History Review
Revised November 30, 2009
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD CHECKS
(N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1 et seq. , N.J.S.A. 18A:39-19.1 & N.J.S.A. 18A:6-4.13 et seq.)
The following is a list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the criminal history background check process. Please review all questions as some categories may overlap. If you have a question that does not appear on this list, please contact the Criminal History Review Unit at 609-292-0507 for a response and to have your question included in our next update.
MorphoTrak (Formally Sagem Morpho)
A. Effective March 3, 2008, all appointments scheduled by new applicants for school employment will be charged a reduced fee of $70.25, including nonpublic schools. There also is a $10.00 administrative fee (increased from $7.00 to $10.00 as of October 30, 2009) that is charged by the Department of Education (DOE). All Applicant Authorization and Certification forms submitted to the Criminal History Review Unit (CHRU) must have a $10.00 certified check or money order payable to the State of New Jersey attached. You may also submit requests for criminal history record checks, archive submission process and duplicate approval letter requests via e-payment on the department Web site (please refer to Criminal History Review on the prior page).
A. Two payments are required for the process. One is payable to MorphoTrak in the amount of $70.25 in the form of a credit or debit card if scheduling online and by money order if paying at time of printing. This payment will cover the fee for MorphoTrak, State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The other must be in the amount of $10.00 (certified check, money order or via e-payment on-line), payable to the State of New Jersey for the administrative fee.
A. The law states that the applicant must be responsible to pay all fees for the criminal history background checks, including any administrative costs. However, the employing educational facility may reimburse the paid applicant for the cost of the printing, including any administrative fees.
A. Yes, applicants may schedule appointments online by visiting the MorphoTrak Web site at www.bioapplicant.com/nj/. This is the most convenient and quickest way to schedule an appointment. Also, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking applicants may call 1-877-503-5981. Hearing impaired applicants should call 1-800-673-0353. The call for hearing impaired must be placed from a telephone that is connected to a modem.
A. To ensure a rapid response, the applicant may file the fee payment on-line at the department Web site. If filing through an educational facility, the facility shall immediately mail the necessary forms to the Criminal History Review Unit along with the required $10.00 fee. Upon completion of the paperwork, the applicant may contact MorphoTrak for an appointment to scan the fingerprints. Usually, appointments are available within seven working days. No approval letters will be issued unless the $10.00 administrative fee has been paid.
A. No, MorphoTrak is the ONLY state-authorized vendor for fingerprint screening.
A. We anticipate a highly reduced rejection rate using LiveScan fingerprinting. However, when the CHRU receives information of a rejected print (BPR), we will notify the employing educational facility or authorized school bus contractor. We will then notify MorphoTrak that the applicant’s fingerprints are rejected, and they will contact the applicant/employee via US mail directly to schedule a new appointment at no charge. Please note: the FBI has a 90 day time frame from the date the prints were rejected for the individual to resubmit for re-printing. Thereafter, the FBI will purge their records and the individual will need to be printed as a new applicant.
A. Photo driver’s licenses or other government-issued identification bearing the individual’s photo will suffice. Most county clerk’s offices and the Motor Vehicle Commission will issue a photo ID at a minimal charge.
A. MorphoTrak is the only state-authorized private vendor for LiveScan fingerprinting.
A. Applicants that were LiveScan printed subsequent to February 21, 2003 and have had the state fingerprint image retained by the State Police and category Education Keep (EDK), are eligible for the Archive Submission Process. The request for this process is submitted by the employing educational facility or authorized school bus contractor and must include one Transmittal form, one Employee Roster form and the required fee. Also, an Applicant Authorization and Certification form for each applicant is required. This form must include the most recent Process Control Number (PCN) obtained from their MorphoTrak receipt. The employee will not be required to go to a site to be LiveScan printed. This office will request the check from MorphoTrak. Please write “APS” preferably in red on the left bottom corner of the envelope.
A. The fee is $35.30 (including the $10.00 Administrative fee to the DOE) for each applicant submitted for the Archive Submission Process. The CHRU will distribute the fee as follows: $19.25 for the FBI to search the print images and $6.05 for MorphoTrak to call up the fingerprints and transmit them to the FBI. The $10.00 administrative fee mentioned above is for the DOE to process the request and issue the approval letter. Payment must be made to the “State of New Jersey” in the form of a certified check or money order. The most expeditious process is to file on-line via ePayment
EDUCATIONAL FACILITY/AUTHORIZED SCHOOL BUS CONTRACTOR
A. The applicants will receive a letter with the blue seal of the State of New Jersey mailed to their home address. The employer/district will continue to receive the computer printout from the county superintendent’s office. The process should take approximately 14 days from when the applicant is printed unless follow-up investigation is required Valid proof of approval for applicants and employees would be the following:
IT IS THE EMPLOYING EDUCATIONAL FACILITY OR AUTHORIZED SCHOOL BUS CONTRACTOR THAT MUST ASSURE EMPLOYEES HAVE COMPLETED THE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD CHECK PROCESS. IF NO APPROVAL IS RECEIVED WITHIN 4 TO 6 WEEKS, PLEASE CONTACT THE CHRU AT 609-292-0507.
A. Yes, if an applicant meets the criteria for emergent hiring and the employing educational facility can demonstrate an emergent need for that service, it may complete the emergent hiring form.
A. Yes, since the regulations concerning dissemination of criminal history information prohibit sharing that material outside the intended purpose. Federal and state security and privacy regulations dictate that dissemination of this information may only be for the purpose expressed in the “Reason Fingerprinted.”
A. No, that individual is not a new employee and, therefore, is “grandfathered” under the legislation.
A. Yes, it should occur at the time of transfer to the new position.
A. Unpaid volunteers may now be submitted for the state and federal criminal history background check at a reduced fee from that which is charged for paid employees. Recently, the department has been authorized to allow school districts to submit student teachers for the criminal history record check process. They may be submitted by using the same codes and fees as that used for submitting the unpaid volunteer. However, the state will not retain or flag the print image. Therefore, if the unpaid volunteer or student teacher is arrested subsequent to approval, no notification will be made to the department. Should the student teacher or the unpaid volunteer seek employment with an educational facility, they would be required to undergo a new criminal history record check as would a new applicant for employment. They would not be eligible for the Archive Submission Process. Also, upon request from the nonpublic schools, this office will process volunteers using the non public school statute, N.J.S.A.18A:6-4.14.
A. Yes, the law states that the district may not employ or contract for the services of an
individual without submitting that applicant through a criminal background check.
A. Yes, although juvenile criminal records are not available for non-criminal justice
purposes, the State Bureau of Identification will report if the juvenile is listed on the sexual offender’s list or if the juvenile is charged as an adult. Juveniles may obtain working papers at age 14 years. However, if the juvenile will be working in a paid position at the school that s/he attends, fingerprinting would not be required. The juvenile has the legal authority to attend school.
A. These individuals are not required to undergo the fingerprint process unless they are employed or contracted by the educational facility.
A. Yes, the educational facility or employee may be subject to administrative action and a $500.00 fine. School bus contractors and bus drivers who violate the provisions of this statute may be fined $5,000.00 and be denied direct access to the CHRU for processing future criminal history record checks on their drivers and aides.
A. Yes, except for individuals employed in a substitute capacity or a contract service provider employee that works in multiple educational facilities simultaneously. Please see letter for “Contract Service Providers Working in Multiple Educational Facilities Simultaneously” at the following site: http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/crimhist/
A. No, they are exempt.
A. Yes, if they are employed or contracted by an educational facility. NJAC requires coaches to obtain a substitute teaching certificate.
A. It will be the responsibility of the educational facility where the contractor’s employees will be working to process these individuals. The educational facility will supply the contractor with the necessary forms. However, the educational facility may instruct the applicant to submit the fee payment or request the archive process, whichever applies, on- line. No forms are required by the educational facility when filing on-line. The educational facility will be responsible for completing the Transmittal Form and Employee Roster and forwarding the materials, including the $10.00 administrative fee, to the Department of Education if filing via U.S. mail.
A. As long as these employees continue working in the same educational facility under contract with no break in service, they will not be required to undergo the background check.
A. Tutors, as employees of an educational facility, who comes into regular contact with pupils, must undergo the process.
A. Yes, if employees are laid off, their employment is terminated and they must submit to a background check when they are re-employed. In cases of maternity and family leave, the applicant is placed on a leave of absence and is “made whole” upon returning to the educational facility.
A. No, only one Transmittal Form is required per package with a maximum of 30 applicants
A. Approval letters issued by the Criminal History Review Unit are valid only in the district that employs the applicant. A new approval letter is required whenever changing districts/contractors or seeking employment in more than one district. (This does not apply to substitute positions or school bus drivers.)
A. Please visit our Web site for this response. A letter addressing this issue under the signature of the Chief of Staff has been circulated and is titled “Contract Service Providers Working in Multiple Districts.” http://www.state.nj.us/education/
A. As long as one of the original educational facilities is annually rehiring the substitute and there is no break in service, there is no need to have the individual reapply for a criminal history background check when adding a new educational facility. However, the new employing educational facility should require the substitute employee to provide proof of continuous employment. An individual, who is first hired as a substitute and later selected for a permanent position within the educational facility, is not required to undergo a new background check.
A. Individuals that work in substitute positions or school bus drivers that are only finger-printed initially and upon renewal of their driver’s license, who seek new or added employment must have the new employer submit a Transfer Request to the Criminal History Review Unit. The request must include a Transmittal and Applicant Authorization & Certification (AA &C) form listing the previous employer in the upper left corner of the AA & C. No fee is required for the Transfer Request process. Please submit Transfers under separate mailing. Mark lower left corner of envelope “Transfer.”
A. You may request the substitute to produce a letter from the previous educational facility verifying the employment or contact the Criminal History Review Unit.
Q. If an employee changes jobs within an educational facility, will he/she be required to go through the process again?
A. No, once an employee has gone through the process for one position, that employee may serve in any other position, except the position of school bus driver in that educational facility, without having to go through the process again. In addition, employees in the same educational facility seeking the position of substitute teacher who have not yet obtained their substitute teaching credentials, must have a criminal history record check prior to issuance of the substitute teaching credentials. (Prints taken for the same facility may be used if within 5 months of the approval date.)
A. Yes, the applicant will receive an approval letter bearing the official state seal in blue in the center of the letter. The educational facilities, private schools for children with disabilities, charter schools and authorized school bus contractors will be sent a computer printout sheets via the respective county superintendents’ office listing all approved applicants for the previous week. The Criminal History Review Unit will mail computer printout sheets with approval information to the nonpublic schools on a weekly basis.
A. Yes, upon confirmation of a conviction or pending crime/offense for a disqualifying crime, the educational facility or authorized school bus contractor will immediately be notified that the applicant is disqualified or not eligible for employment.
A. Simultaneously with notification to the educational facility or authorized school bus contractors, the applicant is also notified via regular mail of their disqualification from employment. The applicant has 30 days to challenge the accuracy of the criminal history record.
A. No. The Privacy Act precludes the Department of Education from disseminating criminal history record information to the employing entity.
A. There is a law that permits an employer to request an employee to submit to a state fingerprint check (no federal check is allowed). Contact the NJ Division of State Police at 609-882-2000 extension 2918 and request a 212B Applicant State Fingerprint Check form. However, if the individual is a paid employee, they must submit the criminal history record check through the Criminal History Review Unit.
A. Yes, if the job category is included in the law or there is regular pupil contact, the applicant must submit to a background check or not be hired.
A. As required by law, the Department of Education will notify the State Board of Examiners for appropriate action.
A. When the individual’s employment is no longer required as indicated by Board Resolution, this would constitute a “break in service.”
A. When an employee is “board-approved” by resolution in the same educational facility, s/he is considered to have continuous employment. Once the employee leaves that district to seek employment in a new district, that person no longer has continuous employment.
A. No, since the educational facility is the common employer.
A. A school bus driver must submit to a new criminal history background check upon renewal of his/her driver’s license. All other employees who break service with the employing educational facility are considered new employees and must submit to a new criminal history background check through the new educational facility. The exception is employees in substitute positions. Please see response in Question number 33.
A. Applicants applying for a substitute teaching certificate from the county superintendent must produce an approval letter from the Criminal History Review Unit prior to thecertificate’s being issued. However, the employing educational facility may employ the substitute on an emergent basis if they demonstrate a need exists. Credentials may be issued.
A. Under normal circumstances, printouts will be distributed weekly.
A. Yes, they all require a Board Resolution; however, only those individuals that need to be hired on an emergent basis will require a county superintendent’s approval. All other employees who are being processed must wait for the Criminal History Review Unit to issue an approval letter prior to starting their employment.
A. Yes, an applicant may not begin working until the educational facility has received an Emergent Hiring form signed by the county superintendent. Fingerprint data may be sent ahead to CHRU followed by the Authorization for Emergent Hiring form, along with the other required forms.
A. Section “A” of the AA & C must be signed by the applicant/employee when hiring a new candidate who is not currently employed with an educational facility, an employee of a contractor providing service to an educational facility or, is an initial applicant for a school bus driver’s endorsement.
A. The applicant who was hired prior to June 30, 1998 and is changing educational facilities, completes section “B.” The applicant must still be fingerprinted; however, the expanded crimes in the June 30, 1998 amendments will not apply to these employees unless the crime or offense is committed after the June 30, 1998 date. The same applies to school bus drivers who are renewing their school bus endorsements.
A. Certain school bus contractors who have been assigned specific code numbers by this office may send requests for emergent hiring directly to the county superintendent along with a copy of the resolution authorizing that company to transport children in a specific school district. All other contractors must go through the respective school district.
A. The three-month emergent hiring begins with the approval of the county superintendent, providing the required criminal history processing forms are being forwarded to the Criminal History Review Unit.
A. Requests for a two-month extension must be submitted to the Criminal History Review Unit. Educational facilities and authorized school bus contractors should check with the applicant to ascertain whether they received an approval letter before sending in requests for extensions.
A. The emergent approval from the county superintendent is not interchangeable with other districts. Each request must be submitted by the respective employing district/contractor.
A. The substitute may not teach in a public educational facility until that person undergoes the background check and obtains valid substitute teaching credentials. The exception would be if the employing district obtained an emergent hiring approval for the substitute teaching position from the county superintendent. In that case, the credentials could be issued pending the criminal history background check.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER
A. Yes, They must make application to this office and they will be assigned their own code numbers. They are then eligible to submit paperwork to this office and will receive direct notification of applicant’s approval/disqualification status.
A. Yes, the Applicant Authorization & Certification Form and Transmittal Form for school bus drivers are identified as “School Bus Driver.” Do not submit school bus drivers and other employees on the same Employee Roster.
A.The school bus driver may begin the process no earlier than three months from the date of the driver’s license expiration date.
A. School bus drivers must be fingerprinted upon initial application for a school bus driver endorsement and upon renewal of the basic driver’s license.
A. Charter bus operators used on an infrequent basis are exempt because they do not have “regular pupil contact.”
A. Yes, since the driver is an employee of a public educational facility, the driver must be fingerprinted.
A. Yes, for initial application, the driver shall provide a copy of the MorphoTrak receipt to the Motor Vehicle Commission. On renewal, the driver should provide a copy of the new criminal history approval letter. A school bus driver may start the criminal history background check within three months prior to the expiration of his/her driver’s license to facilitate a smooth transition.
A. No, a new approval letter is issued to the school bus driver each time his or her driver’s license is renewed and he or she is processed through the Criminal History Review Unit.
A. Please refer to Question #34.
A. School bus drivers must use N.J.S.A. 18A:39-19.1 when submitting to the criminal history record check They are printed initially when obtaining the “S” endorsement from the Motor Vehicle Commission and thereafter, each time they renew their driver’s license. The school bus aide must be printed under N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.2. Thereafter, if they remain with the same company, no further printing is required. However, if the aides change employers, they must undergo the criminal history record check as a new employee.
A. No. A school bus driver must be employed with an educational facility or an authorized school bus contractor prior to undergoing the criminal history record check through the Department of Education. Should the school bus driver’s “S” endorsement expire, the Motor Vehicle Commission will allow a period of time for the driver to renew the endorsement. If the school bus driver does not renew in that period of time, s/he will be required to undergonew testing for the “S” endorsement.
A. If the job position is mentioned in the statute (N.J.S.A.18A:6-7.1 i.e. teaching staff member, substitute teacher, teacher aide, child study team member, school physician, school nurse, custodian, school maintenance worker, cafeteria worker, school law enforcement officer, school secretary or clerical worker), regardless of pupil contact, the individual must submit to the criminal history record check. In addition, any individual that has “regular pupil contact” must also undergo the criminal history record check. “Regular pupil contact” is determined by the employing education facility in consultation with the school attorney.
A. When an employee is disqualified, suspended or released by the employing entity based on a notification of ineligibility by the CHRU, the employing entity may not rehire that individual until they receive written notification from our office.
Additional updates will be posted to the Web site when available.
If you have any questions, please contact the Criminal History Review Unit at (609) 292-0507.