The adoption journey can be long and complicated. In the state of Arkansas, adoption of a newborn can be finalized within six to ten days of the baby’s birth — but only if the adoptive parents have taken all the necessary steps ahead of time. One of the steps is completing an official home study. A home study includes lots of elements, but one requirement is a series of criminal background checks for everyone 14 and older who is living in the home.

There’s no point in feeling chocked or offended by this requirement. It is a legal necessity and the point is to ensure the safety of the child. Know that these checks are required for everyone.

Who must have a background check?

Everyone living in the house who is 14 years of age or older must participate in the background checks.

Anyone who stays in the house for three months or more is considered to be living in the house. However, foster children already staying in the house are excluded from this requirement.

What kids of background checks are required?

People who have lived in Arkansas for six years or more must have checks run through these agencies:

  • Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry
  • Arkansas Adult Maltreatment Central Registry
  • Arkansas State Police Criminal Record Check
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check

The FBI check uses fingerprints and checks across the nation. However, people who have recently lived in another state must also have a criminal background check done in the other states where they have lived in the last five years.

These checks look for convictions of crimes ranging from assault and murder to human trafficking and cruelty to animals. Felony drug charges, fraud, and robbery are also on the list. A guilty plea or conviction for any of the listed crimes makes the individual ineligible to adopt a child in Arkansas.

How often are these checks required?

People in the adoption process must repeat the checks every two years until they finish the process. Once the adoption is complete, no more background checks are required.

What is the process like?

For the FBI check, you will need to have your fingerprints taken. This is fast, painless, and easy. The service is offered at post offices, UPS stores, sheriff’s offices, and other public locations. The fingerprints will be compared with a national data base to produce a document called an Identity History Summary. This will include any arrests, and may also include records of fingerprints taken for licenses or credentials or job applications.

The state checks require a notarized statement. They will use your name to check your history. Fingerprints can also be used if necessary to confirm identity.

Heimer Law can answer any questions or concerns you may have about the process. Background checks are just one of the many steps in the adoption process. It is best to have a qualified adoption lawyer by your side as you make your way through the process.

Inquiry Form