The Protection of People with Special Needs Act, which took effect on June 30, 2013 created the Vulnerable Persons Central Register that, among other functions, maintains the Staff Exclusion List (SEL). The SEL contains the names of individuals, including employees, volunteers, interns, consultants or contractors, found responsible for serious or repeated acts of abuse and neglect in programs subject to the jurisdiction of the Justice Center. The Act, requires agencies and entities to check the SEL when considering an applicant for employment, volunteering, licensure, certification or approval, including:
- Authorized agencies certifying or approving foster or adoptive parents,
- Authorized agencies approving respite homes
- Authorized agencies that operate adoption programs
The SEL database check is in addition to criminal history checks and State Central Registry Clearances required by Social Services law (SSL) for foster or adoptive parents regardless of whether or not a person is listed on the SEL. If the person being checked is listed on the SEL, he or she may not be hired in a position involving regular and substantial contact with a vulnerable person (child or adult) in a facility or agency as defined in section 488(4) of the SSL. The mandatory bar for being listed on the SEL does not apply to foster parents, adoptive parents, respite homes or non-facility staff of local districts or adoption agencies. If the applicant is on the SEL list, the agency or entity can make a determination based on the information it has available whether to certify or approve the applicant, following the guidelines that OCFS has set forth for SCR clearances and must document the reason for the decision to certify or approve the applicant in a similar manner as to when an applicant is the subject of an indicated child abuse and maltreatment report.
The SEL check requirements are not retroactive and do not apply for persons hired persons certified, licensed or approved prior to June 30, 2013. A SEL database check is not required for the purpose of renewal of a foster parent’s certificate or approval where the foster parent had been certified or approved prior to June 30, 2013. Completion of the database check of prospective foster parents and other adults residing in the home of the applicant is a condition for full certification or approval of new foster homes. To learn more about SEL requirements, see NYS OCFS Administrative Directive 13-OCFS-ADM-09 or visit the NYS Justice Center Website.