Kieran's Law

EXPLANATION—Matter in italics is new; matter in brackets [ ] is
old law to be omitted.


AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to authorizing criminal
history checks for certain caregivers and directing the office of
children and family services to conduct a study of the feasibility of
establishing a voluntary registration system for caregivers

Became a law July 29, 1998, with the approval of the Governor. Passed on
message of necessity pursuant to Article III, section 14 of the
Constitution by a majority vote, three-fifths being present.

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
bly, do enact as follows:

Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Kieran's Law".
§ 2. Legislative findings and declaration. The legislature hereby
finds that the provision of caregiver services in the home to children
is a rapidly growing activity in New York state.
Along with the growing use of caregiver services at home is the
increasing need for potential employers to be able to obtain accurate
and verifiable information on prospective caregivers.
Currently in New York state, such caregivers are hired, in many cases,
without the prospective employer having sufficient knowledge of the
criminal background of the person they have hired. Additionally, if the
prospective employer possessed such information, there is no means for
it to be verified. Such valuable information and a method of verifica-
tion is essential for a potential employer to make an informed, well-
considered decision about the care of a child.
Prospective employers of caregivers need access to the criminal histo-
ry of prospective employees. The division of criminal justice services
and the federal bureau of investigation possess information relating to
the criminal records of certain persons. Such information is a valuable
tool for the protection of children. The submission of a set of finger-
prints by a prospective employer to the division of criminal justice
services and the federal bureau of investigation for a search against
such division's or bureau's records would reveal the prior criminal
record, if any, of a prospective caregiver.
Therefore, the state must establish uniform standards for the volun-
tary criminal background check of individuals offering such services in
the home.
§ 3. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 837-n to
read as follows:
§ 837-n. Criminal history information of caregivers; requirements. 1.
Definitions. For the purposes of this section:
(a) "Caregiver" shall mean a person employed to provide fifteen or
more hours of care per week to a child or children in the home of such a
child or children.
(b) "Criminal history information" shall mean a record of all
convictions of crimes and any pending criminal charges maintained on an
individual by the division of criminal justice services.

2. (a) Upon request, a caregiver may provide a prospective employer
with a set of fingerprints, or two such sets of fingerprints if the
prospective employer also seeks to obtain a criminal history report from
the federal bureau of investigation, in such form and manner as shall be
specified by the division of criminal justice services, but in any
event, no less than two digit imprints. The prospective employer shall
submit the fingerprints to the division of criminal justice services for
screening, together with the prescribed processing fee, as set forth in
subdivision eight-a of section eight hundred thirty-seven of this arti-
cle and any fees associated with obtaining fingerprints under this
subdivision, provided, however, that the commissioner shall develop a
reduced fee based upon the prospective employer's ability to pay. If
the prospective employer also seeks to obtain a criminal history report
from the FBI, the required fee for such report shall also be included.
(b) Every set of fingerprints taken pursuant to this subdivision shall
be promptly submitted to the division of criminal justice services. The
division of criminal justice services shall compare such fingerprints
against the records of such division and upon request of the prospective
employer shall forward a set of such fingerprints to the federal bureau
of investigation at Washington with a request that the files of the
bureau be searched and notification of the results of such search and a
report thereon shall be made. The division of criminal justice services
shall formulate a standard criminal history information report and the
standard form for such reporting. The division of criminal justice
services shall forward such criminal history information report to the
prospective employer in a timely manner. All such reports processed and
sent to such prospective employer pursuant to this paragraph shall not
be published or in any way disclosed or redisclosed to persons other
than the prospective employer, or the prospective caregiver. Any person
who discloses or rediscloses such reports in violation of this section
shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
(c) The office of children and family services shall prepare and
disseminate information to advise the public of the right to obtain the
criminal history information of a prospective caregiver. Such informa-
tion shall also include, but not be limited to, the following:
(i) the voluntary nature of the criminal history information check;
(ii) the steps necessary to use the criminal history information
check, including information on form availability, fingerprinting and
(iii) applicable confidentiality requirements; and
(iv) other information that is available to prospective employers upon
the consent of a prospective caregiver including but not limited to
department of motor vehicles records, educational records and credit
records, including, where relevant and available, phone numbers,
addresses and a description of the content and potential uses of such
(d) The commissioner of the division of criminal justice services
shall promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to implement the
provisions of this section.
§ 4. The commissioner of the office of children and family services in
consultation with the division of criminal justice services, the depart-
ment of motor vehicles, the education department and the department of
labor is hereby authorized and directed to conduct a study of the feasi-
bility of establishing a voluntary registration system for caregivers.
The feasibility study would report on how a registration system could be
developed, implemented and maintained, and the costs associated with
those functions. The feasibility study would also include a timeline for
the development of a registration system were one to be developed. Such
study shall address the feasibility of including the following informa-
tion in such registry: employment history of a prospective caregiver;
references for all employment positions including explanation and
verification of employment gaps; comprehensive list of other names used;
consumer report as defined in paragraph one of subdivision (c) of
section three hundred eighty-a of the general business law; department
of motor vehicles record of convictions relating to the prospective
caregiver's drivers license; education verification; a criminal history
information check; information regarding any physical or mental limita-
tion that would interfere with an individual's ability to provide care
to a child or children; and other relevant information as determined by
the commissioner of the office of children and family services. Such
study shall also address procedures for the release of information from
such registry upon the request of employers or prospective employers and
with the consent of the caregiver. The commissioner shall report and
make recommendations to the legislature on or before March 1, 1999.
§ 5. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.

The Legislature of the STATE OF NEW YORK ss:
Pursuant to the authority vested in us by section 70-b of the Public
Officers Law, we hereby jointly certify that this slip copy of this
session law was printed under our direction and, in accordance with such
section, is entitled to be read into evidence.

Temporary President of the Senate Speaker of the Assembly

Page last updated May 28, 2003