New background check system aims to streamline and bolster Idaho security checks

October 26, 2023
By Fernando Castro, Division of Management Services

The Department of Health and Welfare marked a significant milestone this month as it implemented a cutting-edge new background check system. The new system’s primary objective is to drastically reduce processing times for background checks, ensuring a smoother and faster experience for both applicants and employers.

The background check system managed by DHW helps screen people who care for many of Idaho’s most vulnerable and processes more than 33,000 background checks each year. The new system rolled out Tuesday, Oct. 3, and will screen people who work in daycares, emergency services, long-term care facilities, behavioral health clinics, certified family homes, state hospitals, and more.

Troubleshooting transition complications

The department recognizes that the transition to the new system is having an impact on our customers, and we are implementing measures to address problems and to increase the department’s response.

To deal with increased calls from our clients for help, the department is increasing the number of staff that can assist with calls and will respond to inquiries as quickly as it can. Providers who must use the system in the course of day-to-day business can expect continued targeted communications from the Background Check Unit with updates as the system is modified to serve their needs.

We expected a learning curve for all of the system’s users during the transition, and we believe this new tool will help build toward improved efficiency and security in the background check process. If you’re experiencing delays or complications, please consider the following resources:

The Background Check Unit website linked above has been updated to include training and reference materials discussing the features and processes of the background check system.

We ask our customers for their patience and understanding as the Background Check Unit team replies to all contacts for help as quickly as it can.

Some of new system’s key benefits

The Background Check Unit leveraged multi-year federal grant funding with aims to improve operations and efficiency in background checks. As part of an objective in DHW’s Strategic Plan to “implement a federally endorsed background check system and optimize both staff levels and operations at fingerprint locations to improve the timeliness of background checks,” this new system will ensure a smoother and faster experience for both applicants and employers.

The new background check system will:

  • Eliminate 99% of the paper processes
  • Allow applicants to submit via a mobile device
  • Allow agencies to pay for their applicants’ background checks through the website
  • Enhance security of information from FBI and local police
  • Handle internet browser enhancements

The modernized background check system has various advantages for users and employers. The most significant is the elimination of 99% of paper-based processes.

The transition from an antiquated 2004 system to a more resilient and reliable platform enables applicants to conveniently submit their information via mobile device. This both enhances accessibility and streamlines the payment process, allowing applicants to pay for their background checks through the system website.

The new system also provides immediate access to necessary forms in a pdf format upon application submission, which saves time and makes compliance for out-of-state requirements easier to complete.

Increased security and automation

Security has always been a concern for the Background Check Unit, and this system addresses it. By enhancing the security of information sourced from the FBI and local police, applicants—as well as employers and the Background Check Unit—can have increased confidence in the handling of sensitive data.

Another critical improvement with the background check system is reducing reliance on manual intervention. The system sends timely notifications to employers, reminding them of approaching deadlines and potential violations. This ensures compliance and reduces the need for staff assistance in account management autonomy to manage their accounts. This streamlined affiliation process leads to greater efficiency and a reduction in administrative issues during audits.

By embracing modernization and leveraging technological advancements with this system, DHW can guarantee a smoother experience for customers, providers, and stakeholders involved in background checks.

Fernando Castro is program supervisor for the Background Check Unit at the Department of Health and Welfare. He’s worked in that position since 2010.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at 

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