DBHDD Incident Management and Investigations Criminal Records Section FAQs
When do I or my employees need to be fingerprinted?
When you have a contract with DBHDD that involves Direct Care, Treatment, Custodial Responsibilities, or any combination of services that would involve direct contact with and support services for individuals.
Is there a DBHDD Policy that covers Criminal History Records checks for Contractors?
How do I register my agency for an OAC Number to use the Cogent (GAPS) system?
That information can be found at www.ga.cogentid.com under the General Information tab on their Home Page.
How do I contact the Criminal Records Section if I have questions about a record or the fingerprinting process?
The best way to contact the Criminal Records Section concerning an applicant is through email to email@example.com. If you need to speak with someone directly, please call (404) 463-8115, (404) 463-2507, or (404) 232-1187. If you need to speak with the Manager about an issue with Cogent, or the CHRIS system, please call (404) 232-1541.
What Reason Code do I select on the Cogent system for DBHDD Contractors/Providers?
Contractor Code is DBHDD-Contractor Providing Care/Treatment. Volunteers, Students, and Interns Code is Mental Disabilities Care Provider (Volunteer).
What happens if I select the incorrect Reason Code?
Criminal Records received with an incorrect Reason Code cannot be processed. Your agency will be notified that the applicant must be re-registered and pay again.
When I select the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities as the agency making my determination, what ORI Number do I use to ensure DBHDD receives the results for review?
The only approved DBHDD ORI for Cogent is GA922961Z.
What happens if I select the incorrect agency to make the determination?
The Criminal Record would not be processed because DBHDD did not receive it. Also, you would then have to reregister the applicant, have them fingerprinted and pay again.
How long does it take to process the Criminal Backgrounds?
The Criminal Records Section will issue a Result Letter in seven (7) business days from the time the record is received from Cogent.
Can I get copies of the Result Letter if I need it?
You can retrieve as many copies of the letters as you need through the CHRIS system. Letters prior to June 27, 2013 cannot be retrieved and the applicant must be reprinted. Also, the letters are not transferable from provider to provider.
Does DBHDD have an appeal process for applicants determined Ineligible to provide services based on their Criminal Background?
No. DBHDD does not have an appeal process. If the applicant’s criminal background has a disqualifying Conviction based on policy, then applicant is Ineligible to provide services to DBHDD. The applicant is notified of the Disqualification and how what time limit the disqualification has, if any.
How do I obtain access to the Criminal History Record Information System (CHRIS) database as a provider?
You must email a request to the Criminal Records Section at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line of the email, enter “Request to Access CHRIS as a Provider.” In your request, give us the following information:
GAPS ID Number (OAC) Example: GAP123456
Agency Contact Person
Agency Email Address and Phone Number
We will respond to your email with your User ID and Password within five (5) business days of receiving the request.
Note: Only one User ID and Password will be issued to each agency. If you have multiple GAPS OAC Numbers, and different people receive the results then that individual must request access using their assigned GAPS (OAC) Number and the information for the location they are working at.
How do I obtain Eligibility Letters for my applicants?
You will need the applicant’s GAPS Registration ID to search for their Eligibility letter in the CHRIS system. That number is fifteen (15) digits long. Example: GA1234567890.
Note: DBHDD does not email, mail or fax result letters. We will do that in situations where the CHRIS database is down for three (3) business days.
Are there instructions on how to Access and Use the CHRIS system as a provider?
Either of these lessons will walk you through the CHRIS system from how to request access to how to obtain your agency’s Eligibility letters:
Can I obtain a fingerprint based background check on Students or Interns for my agency providing services to DBHDD?
Yes. DBHDD does have Federal authority to obtain fingerprints on Students or Interns. This is in accordance with FBI Regulations under the National Child Protection Act/Volunteers for Child Act (NCPA/VCA). You must use Reason Fingerprinted Code: Mental Disabilities Care Provider (Volunteer).
Are the Cogent and CHRIS systems the same?
Cogent is the State Approved Vendor for Capturing, Processing, and Disseminating Fingerprints; which translates to Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) and is provided to the approved recipients.
The Criminal History Record Information System (CHRIS) is DBHDD’s Internal database used to track Employee/Contractor Eligibility determinations and produce the required determination letters. No other information is stored in the CHRIS database.
Can an applicant challenge the contents of the Criminal Background?
Yes. An applicant can challenge the contents of their Criminal Background. They must make the request in writing to the DBHDD Criminal Records Section and state why they believe the information contained in the Criminal History is incorrect. Upon receipt of the request, the criminal records section staff will review the request and provide information to the applicant as to how to challenge the contents of the criminal history. Example of a challenge would be: An arrest showing a “Guilty” disposition, when the case was actually “Dismissed”. (This is not an APPEAL of our Determination.)
What does DBHDD consider when making an Eligibility Determination?
DBHDD only considers Convictions or a Plea of Nolo Contendere for crimes that are described in DBHDD Contractor Background Policy 04-104. An Arrest on an applicant’s Criminal History does not in itself disqualify the applicant. The only exception to that would be if it were a Recent Significant Arrest: The arrest occurred within the last eighteen (18) months for a disqualifying crime and there is no disposition reported. The applicant in this case will be disqualified until such time as the arrest/charge is resolved.
Can Eligibility letters be transferred to another agency?
No. As required in your DBHDD Contract or Letter of Agreement, each agency must obtain a new set of fingerprints and Eligibility on an applicant they are going to employ. The previous background check is only good for the agency that requested it and the records are only valid for the minute they were printed and reviewed. Improvements in technology have made it so that Criminal Records are updated within minutes of an arrest and booking. Example: Applicant gets cleared today. However, in the same day he/she gets arrested for a Disqualifying crime. He/She then applies to a new agency. The new agency accepts the old letter. Later the agency learns of the Arrest and Conviction and has to terminate the employee. This is avoided by requiring a new background each time someone is hired. If they are employed with an agency and leave for 1 day, they must be fingerprinted again, and re-evaluated.
Must I notify the applicant their fingerprints are being submitted to the Georgia and Federal Bureau of Investigations Criminal Databases for comparison to determine the existence or non-existence of a Criminal Record for the Applicant?
Yes. You must place this notice either on the job announcement or application for employment so that the applicant is aware upfront that their fingerprints are being sent to these databases for comparison. You MUST specifically state they will be subjected to a Georgia and Federal Bureau of Investigations Fingerprint Background check. Simply stating "You will be submitted for a Fingerprint Based Background Check" is not sufficient. There is an applicant’s privacy rights notice on this page that you can print out or obtain by emailing email@example.com. This should be given to each applicant prior to fingerprinting.