Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

Disclaimer

 

 

Appeal Process for Child Care Background Check Decisions

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is required to run an initial FBI fingerprint background check prior to an individual operating, residing at or working in a regulated child care center. A new fingerprint check is required every five years.

The DCF Child Care Background Unit (CBU) reviews criminal history, sex offender registries, Child Protective Services (CPS) records and other information to determine whether individuals are eligible to operate, reside at or work in a child care center. When the background check is complete, the CBU sends a final background check eligibility determination to the center and the individual subject of the background report. Individuals who are found ineligible have the right to appeal DCF’s background check decision under Wisconsin Statute §48.686 (4s) if they feel the determination was incorrect.

 

The Appeal Process

Step One

The subject of the background check may file an appeal to have the background check decision reviewed. To file an appeal, the individual:

  1. Completes a Petition for Appeal of Ineligibility Determination (form number DCF-F-5331-E) citing the information that is in dispute.
  2. Attaches a copy of the Notice of Background Check Ineligibility and any other supporting documentation.
  3. Submits the completed petition and attached documents to the Child Care Background Unit (CBU) to the mail address, email, or fax number listed on the petition form.
  4. Receives a notice from the CBU confirming receipt of the appeal petition.

Appeal petitions must be submitted no later than 10 days from the date of the Notice of Background Check Ineligibility, unless the appellant requests, and the department grants for good cause shown, an extension prior to expiration of the 10-day appeal period. The CBU will review the petition materials and the background check information. CBU will send the individual an appeal decision letter indicating whether the initial background check decision was upheld or overturned.

Step Two

If the appeal decision was upheld, individuals may seek further reconsideration by the DCF Secretary or his or her designee. To file for reconsideration, the individual:

  1. Writes a request detailing the basis for the reconsideration petition.
  2. Attaches a copy of the appeal decision letter and any other supporting documentation.
  3. Submits the request and attached documents to the DCF Office of the Secretary to the mail address, email, or fax number listed on the appeal decision letter.

Reconsideration petitions must be submitted no later than 30 days after the date of the appeal decision letter or they may not be considered. The DCF Secretary or his or her designee will review the request materials and the background check information. He or she will send the individual a reconsideration decision letter indicating whether the appeal decision was upheld or overturned.

Step Three

The reconsideration is DCF’s final decision. However, individuals have the right to appeal DCF’s decision by requesting a contested case hearing under Wisconsin Statute §227.42. To request an administrative hearing, the individual:

  1. Writes a request for the hearing.
  2. Attaches a copy of the DCF reconsideration decision, the Notice of Background Check Ineligibility and any other supporting documentation.
  3. Submits the request and attached documents to the Division of Hearings and Appeals (DHA) to the mail address, email, or fax number listed on the reconsideration decision letter.

Administrative hearing requests must be submitted no later than 30 days after the date of the appeal decision letter or they may not be considered. The individual will receive a notice from DHA acknowledging receipt of the request and providing additional information about the administrative hearing process.

Forms Required

 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Appeal Process

Can I work or reside in a child care center while my background check is under appeal?

No. You cannot work or reside in a child care center while your ineligible background check results are under appeal. You may begin employment or residence only if your initial background check results have been overturned and you are now deemed eligible.

Can my employer file an appeal of the background check decision on my behalf?

No. Under Wisconsin Statute §48.686 (4s) (a), only the subject of the background check may file an appeal. The child care program or any other individual may not file an appeal on your behalf.

Can I also file an appeal if I am applying for rehabilitation review?

Yes. Some barred offenses are eligible for rehabilitation review. If you decide to apply for rehabilitation review, you may also still file an appeal if you want to contest the accuracy of the background check determination. The appeal and rehabilitation review are separate processes. For more information on the rehabilitation review process, visit the Caregiver Law and Rehabilitation Review web page.

I received a background check ineligibility for failing to respond to DCF’s request for more information. Can I submit the requested information now or do I have to submit an appeal?

If you can submit the background check information to the CBU staff member who requested it, the staff member will complete your background check and issue a new final background check decision, including appeal rights if that background check decision upholds the ineligibility decision.