Ever since the enactment of Public Act 16-67 last summer, school employers and contractors servicing them have faced the challenge of complying with new requirements for background checks for employees who will have direct contact with students. The central aspect of the legislation is a prohibition against offering employment to an applicant for a position with direct student contact unless the applicant is first required:
- To list the names and contact information for current or former school employers or other employers if the position otherwise caused the applicant to have contact with children;
- To provide a written authorization consenting to and authorizing current and former employers and the state Department of Education to disclose records and information and to release those entities from liability from such disclosures; and
- To provide a written statement giving certain information on prior abuse investigations involving the applicant.
The prospective employer must then contact the current and former employers listed and the state Department of Education to conduct a background check, seeking certain specified information. The law requires the current or former employers contacted to respond to the request for information.