Indiana requires a new “expanded child protection index check” on school personnel and contractors

Pursuant to a recent amendment to Indiana law (House Enrolled Act 1005), individuals that begin employment on or after July 1, 2016, with Indiana schools and are likely to have direct, ongoing contact with children within the scope of their employment are required to undergo an “Expanded Child Protection Index Check.”

Under the amended background check policy, Indiana school corporations, charter schools or nonpublic schools, or similar entities—as well as those who contract services to the previously mentioned entities—are required to conduct both the expanded criminal history check previously required under IC 20-26-5-10 (as defined at IC 20-26-2-1.5) and the newly created Expanded Child Protection Index Check that is defined at IC 20-26-2-1.3.  Both the expanded criminal history check and the expanded child protection index check must be completed before or not later than three (3) months after the applicant’s employment by the school corporation, charter school or nonpublic school.

The newly required “Expanded Child Protection Index Check” is defined at IC 20-26-2-1.3 as follows:

(1) an inquiry with the department of child services as to whether an individual has been the subject of a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect and is listed in the child protection index established under IC 31-33-26-2;

(2) an inquiry with the child welfare agency of each state in which the individual has resided since the individual became eighteen (18) years of age as to whether there are any substantiated reports that the individual has committed child abuse or neglect; and

(3) for a certificated employee, an inquiry with the department of education or other entity that may issue a license to teach of each state in which the individual has resided since the individual became eighteen (18) years of age as to whether the individual has ever had a teaching license suspended or revoked.

The Act also limits the use of confidentiality agreements between schools and employees or former employees with respect to substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect. As of July 1, new statutory language (added as IC 20-26-5-11.5) requires school officials to report substantiated incidents of child abuse or neglect if they’re asked for an employment reference by another school, regardless of whether or not a confidentiality agreement is in place.

More information on the newly required checks, including the form for submitting a request (state form # 56025) and details on modes of submission, can be found on the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS)’s website.

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