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Adoption basics: background checks
Adoption basics: background checks

Every adoption in the state of Colorado requires three background checks for the adopting parent or parents.  First is a check through the FBI, then through the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) and then through the Department of Human Services.  If you are working with an adoption agency, they will process your background checks as part of your home study.  Otherwise, you and your lawyer will get the checks done yourselves.

The FBI and CBI checks must be based on fingerprints.  Both the CBI and FBI background checks go through specific providers.  You don’t go to get paper fingerprints to submit by mail, instead you go to a provider such as Identogo, and your fingerprints are uploaded electronically.  Through this system, you’ll generally receive the results of the background checks in a couple of weeks.

It is not an absolute requirement that you have no criminal history. If there is a minor crime on the record or something from years ago, you may still successfully adopt.  If, however, you have a history of violent crime or any crimes involving children on your record, the Court may not authorize the adoption.  If you have a complicated criminal record, you should talk to a lawyer to determine whether to move forward with an adoption or go another direction.

The Department of Human Services background check is also known as a TRAILS report.  The TRAILS check is completed by submitting your personal information to the Department.  It takes around three weeks for your results to come back.  This record shows specifically whether you have any investigations through human services that show a founded report of child abuse or neglect. This doesn’t mean that you can’t adopt if human services has ever been called to investigate you or your family, but if the investigation led to a “founded” finding rather than “unfounded” or “inconclusive,” you may have trouble adopting.

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