How The Placement of Your Name on the CACI Affects Your Ability to Work in a Daycare or Preschool
I get phone calls from people who, through the process of applying for a job at a preschool or daycare facility, discover for the first time that their name is on the Child Abuse Central Index. Most people who call me have been hired and are now simply waiting for the background check to be completed to make the hire final.
Do You Have a Legal Obligation to Tell the Employer that Your Name is on the CACI?
It is not clear to me whether the statute (known as the Child Day Care Act) imposes an affirmative obligation on you or on the employer. Here’s what the statute says, “An individual shall be required to obtain either a criminal record clearance or a criminal record exemption from the State Department of Social Services before his or her initial presence in a child day care facility.” Health & Safety Code § 1596.871
Will the Employer Be Informed by the Licensing Agency or DOJ that Your Name is on the CACI?
People Who Are Convicted of Crimes Can Get Exemptions. Can I Get an Exemption Too?
People who are convicted of certain crimes, such as child abuse, are prohibited from working at a daycare or preschool. However, it may be possible to obtain an “exemption” from that disqualification, which would allow a person convicted of some types of child abuse to keep the job. See Health and Safety Code § 1596.871(f)(A) for a list of convictions for which no one may obtain an exemption.
However, you were not convicted of child abuse. There is merely an allegation that you committed abuse, and your name ended up on the CACI. So do you need an exemption?
It’s not clear.
Health and Safety Code § 1596.871(e)(1) seems to suggest that people can be prevented from working at a daycare facility or preschool not only due to a criminal conviction, but also due to “conduct by the person that may pose a risk to the health and safety of any person who is or may become a client.” In other words, if the state licensing agency (Community Care Licensing) believes you, one time in your life, engaged in conduct that could harm the children at the daycare facility or preschool, you could be excluded from employment.
An argument can be made that you can obtain an exemption from the allegation of such conduct, just as you could obtain an exemption from a criminal conviction of the same conduct.
How Do You Obtain an Exemption?
The employer can seek the exemption on your behalf. However, if your employer declines to seek an exemption, and instead terminates your employment, you may seek exemption on your own behalf. (See H&S § 1596.871(c)(4).)
You will be awarded an exemption from disqualification if you convince the licensing agency that there is “substantial and convincing evidence to support a reasonable belief that [you] are of good character so as to justify issuance of the license.” (See H&S § 1596.871(f)(1).)
If You Can’t Obtain an Exemption, You Will Need to Get Your Name Off the CACI.
Your other option is to simply fight your CACI listing. Get your name off the index. Once you’re off, you should be able to obtain “clearance” from the licensing agency. If that’s the step you want to take, give me a call. I’d be help to walk you through the process. Let’s get you back where you belong, taking care of those kids you love so dearly.
For more information, go here.