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A Certification of Rehabilitation for its Citizens

Florida Electronic Fingerprinting Services – Tampa, FL

The Florida Legislature should consider –

A Certification of Rehabilitation for its Citizens

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Criminal History Reports are a Barrier to Occupational Licensing Employment in Florida and its Citizenry. One standard is necessary. The Florida Legislature should consider Certification of Rehabilitation as the standard for the Rehabilitation of its citizens.

Seven Florida State Agencies use Occupational License to background screen the citizenry. Each agency has differing values in determining the rehabilitative proof of the citizenry, which is the issue.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement should determine the standard for a rehabilitative certification. The standards applied evenly for citizens who seek respite from employment discrimination based on a criminal historical past.

FDLE background screening policies and applicant criminal history requirements are mandatory when working with vulnerable seniors, disable, and children. Florida State Statues.435.05. – Exceptions/waivers are determined on a case-by-case determination. The seven Florida State agencies/departments have a Background Screening Unit. The background screening unit is trained to review the applicant’s application for compliance with applicable state laws, policies, and procedures.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is an appropriate solution for those who completed Rehabilitation and are employable in their occupational field. The goal is to “show the applicant’s willingness to meet rehabilitation standards,” thus removing barriers to employment and licensure in background screening licensing units.

Twelve states have adopted this protocol for occupational licenses – California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington.

Job applicants often surprised and embarrassed to find their past criminal history stopped them from attaining fulfilling employment. Many want to see the criminal history report, but it bases the disclosure of the information on the State Department’s licensing background unit.

An example of an occupational employment applicant denied a promotional opportunity for building and maintaining school properties.
A construction promotion derailed. An applicant was arrested at 19 for public urination. The Division Manager worked with the applicant for over five years and understood the arrest was 12 years ago. The company unfamiliar with the FDLE criminal history screening, nor AHCA background screening units didn’t understand the process. The company’s attorney became involved because an Exemption for Disqualification was requested.

A simple arrest can derail a promising future.

In a tight labor market, these situations are going to occur more often.

Equal societal laws protect citizens and offer a perfect union. However, it does not stop the law’s from being a punitive disruptive force in the lives of productive citizens who have proven successful Rehabilitation.

Employers, Employees, Vendors, and Contractors must adhere to FDLE criminal history checks. The health, safety, and choice of citizens are priorities when making laws and status.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), is the central repository for criminal history information for the state of Florida.

State and national criminal history information are available to governmental agencies for licensing and employment as allowed under Florida law.

The average age of misdemeanor adult arrest in Florida is 18 – 34 adults. The average working-age Floridians in the health care fields 18 – 65.

In critical fields like home care, childcare, and simple nursing, an arrest can stop a bright career. This circumstance disproportionately affects 172,378 Florida women who are single parents.

Florida’s poverty rate is 20.01% and climbing, which is higher than the national average and much higher for disadvantaged communities.

Criminal records can often make it difficult to get employment in your chosen field or a field with an occupational license. The fields are regulated by license or state statute for criminal history reporting like – medical, pharmacy, nursing, home-care, childcare, financial services, real estate transaction, construction, and appraisers.

These employment occupations require a license, certificate, or credential per state regulation of professions. Criminal record checks are mandatory level 2 background screening requirements per state statute. Moral Turpitude Statues or Good Moral Character Clauses and the pool of potential employment applicants who can fulfill basic FDLE criminal history and employment screening requirements shrink.

Exceptions/waivers – determined on an individual case-by-case basis. Each of the 7 Florida State agencies/department has a Background Screening Unit. The background screening unit is trained to review the applicant’s application for compliance with applicable state laws, policies, and procedures.

What are Occupational Licenses?

An occupational license, certification, or credential required sets professional standards by state and federal agencies by which professional license holders can practice. The Licenses set minimal professional standards to ensure public safety and professional standard compliance. Each state has statuses resulting in license violations.

Fees associated with obtaining an occupational license can be prohibitive for newly graduated students and some trained professionals.

Example license fee below, do not include the cost of reapplying through Exception or Waiver.

The average cost of Florida Occupational Professional License (Fees – License**, Fingerprinting, and Testing)

  • Registered Nurse $830.00
  • Certified Nursing Assistant $350.00
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant $550.00
  • Physical Therapy Assistant $480.00
  • Private Detective $250.00
  • Radiologic Technologists $600.00
  • Real Estate Appraiser $450.00
  • Respiratory Therapist $480.00
  • School Bus Driver $150.00
  • Initial CPA License $150.00
  • Dental Hygienist $535.00
  • General Contractor $10k or more
  • Real Estate Agent $500.00

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Low Income Fee Waiver Program
To
Low-Income Residents (Link to Application)

The cost of education, training, securing a professional position, and finding job satisfaction in a chosen field is a herculean accomplishment.

One misdemeanor mistake can make it difficult, or even impossible, to find and recover employment in a chosen field.

Rehabilitation means restoration. Without a proper and singular State Statute on Rehabilitation, each Florida State Agency which issues Occupational Licenses has its standard on Rehabilitation.

APD’s (Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities) Background Screening Unit requirements for Exemption from Disqualification are like DCF’s (Florida Department of Children and Families) Background Screening Unit, yet the standards for AHCA (Florida Agency for Health Care Administration) are more vigorous. It sets a singular standard with a Certification of Rehabilitation.

This example of employment denial or employment ghosting after they complete AHCA employment background screening: Beth worked three part-time jobs saved enough to pay for and complete an evening CNA program. FDLE background screening is a requirement for most CNA programs. The CNA background screening representative assured Beth that the incident in her youth would have no bearing on her future employment and salary. Beth completed the program with such top grades, a “Guaranteed, an employment position, and a potential bonus with a local Assisted Living Agency.

The employer, per Florida Statutes, ordered an AHCA criminal history background screening for Beth. Beth paid for the screening. The average cost AHCA – FDLE Approved fingerprinting service provider in Florida, $89.00 – $150.00, includes photo and tax.

Employers registered with AHCA have access to FDLE background screening determination through AHCA ClearingHouse. Agency administers the Clearinghouse(AHCA for Health Care Administration). The Clearinghouse is a central repository to store data for background screening results related to employment, licensing, and volunteer applicants.

Criminal history background screening is necessary by Florida state Statute when using those who care and offer services to children, vulnerable elderly, and disabled citizens. Seven state agencies use the Clearinghouse criminal history screening databases per Florida state statute. The Clearinghouse and FDLE criminal history reports are necessary as it allows criminal history results to be shared and stored among specific state agencies to reduce duplication and inaccurate reporting.

A singular standard for Rehabilitation, such as a Certification of Rehabilitation, would reduce each state agency’s background unit to comply with the new standard verse differing outcomes for different agencies’ requirements. Setting one standard for the Certification of Rehabilitation would solve this issue.

The Certification of Rehabilitation then becomes a none issue as it meets standards for employment. A fairer, more equitable training, recruitment, and employment outcome may arise.

A Certification of Rehabilitation = Employment opportunities to pursue – All Floridians.

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