Disqualifying Crimes. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is responsible for investigating the conviction records and pending charges of specified people who may have unsupervised access to children, vulnerable adults, or individuals with mental illness or developmental disabilities, including DSHS employees or applicants, in-home service providers, and long-term care facilities. Agencies, facilities, and individuals who provide care to vulnerable adults may not allow persons to work in a position that may involve unsupervised access to minors or vulnerable adults if the person has been convicted of or has a pending charge for certain disqualifying crimes. In some cases, a person will not be automatically disqualified from employment if a designated number of years have passed since the date of conviction for the disqualifying crime. In those instances, the person may be allowed to work in a position with access to minors and vulnerable adults depending on the results of a character, competence, and suitability review.
Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity. A certificate of restoration of opportunity (CROP) may be granted to a person by a superior court if the person:
A person is not eligible for a CROP if they have ever been convicted of any of the following offenses: a class A felony, an attempt to commit a class A felony, or criminal solicitation of or criminal conspiracy to commit a class A felony; a sex offense; a crime that includes sexual motivation; extortion in the first degree; drive-by shooting; vehicular assault; or luring.
A public entity may not disqualify a person who holds a CROP for a license, certificate, or qualification to engage in the practice of a profession or business solely based on criminal history if the person meets all other statutory or regulatory requirements. Criminal justice agencies and the Washington State Bar Association may disqualify a person who holds a CROP based solely on criminal history. DSHS, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and the Department of Health may disqualify a person who holds a CROP based solely on criminal history if the profession or license would give the person unsupervised access to vulnerable persons.
Disqualifying Crimes. DSHS may not automatically disqualify a long-term care worker, contracted provider, or licensee who has a criminal record that contains certain crimes from having unsupervised access to, working with, or providing care to vulnerable adults or children. The long-term care worker, contracted provider, or licensee may engage in these activities once a specified amount of time has passed since the most recent conviction for each crime and the date of the background check. The crimes and the specified minimum times are:
While DSHS may not automatically disqualify a long-term care worker, contracted provider, or licensee, DSHS or an employer under contract with DSHS has the discretion to consider any of the convictions when conducting a character, competence, and suitability review regarding a long-term care worker, contracted provider, or licensee to be employed in a position caring for, or having unsupervised access to, vulnerable adults or children. DSHS and the employer are immune from law suits based upon their exercise of discretion or refusal to exercise discretion. The exemption from automatic disqualification does not apply to background checks performed by DSHS on behalf of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The exemption from automatic disqualification does not apply to DSHS employees or applicants, except for positions in the state-operated community residential program. The exemption does not allow for care to be provided or paid for if it would be prohibited under federal Medicare or Medicaid rules.
Informed Consent Work Group. DSHS must facilitate a work group to identify an informed consent process to allow older adults and people with disabilities to hire an individual with a criminal record that would otherwise disqualify the person from providing paid home care services. DSHS must appoint the members of the work group, which include:
At least one of the work group's meetings must be devoted to reviewing and analyzing racial disparities, including disparities in charges and disqualifications in providing paid home care services. By December 1, 2021, the work group must submit its recommendations to the secretary of DSHS, including a proposed informed consent process for clients to hire a family member or friend with a criminal record. DSHS may revise the informed consent process, but must implement it by January 1, 2023.
Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity. The exclusions that apply to certain applicants with a CROP are eliminated with respect to assisted living facility employees, long-term care workers, and vulnerable adult care providers. In cases regarding an applicant who has a CROP, as well as a criminal history that would disqualify the applicant from a license or employment, DSHS may use its discretion to:
Prior to making the decision, DSHS must review relevant factors, including the nature and seriousness of the offense, the time passed since conviction, changed circumstances since the offense occurred, and the nature of the employment or the license being sought.
DSHS and the employer are immune from law suits based upon their exercise of discretion or refusal to exercise discretion.