There are so much red-tape requirements when attempting to adopt or foster children. One of these requirements is a FBI fingerprinting analysis. Although this requirement is necessary for the protection of the children who would be released into the care of would-be parents and guardians, it can cause some issues along the way.
The requirements for fingerprinting may be different from state to state. According to Families.com, “Most states require a complete fingerprinting and criminal history check in order to adopt children from the foster care system. In many cases your state will require this to be completed for any adult living in your home. In some states fingerprinting and background checks will be required for anyone you plan to leave your child in care of until the adoption is final. If you are planning to have grandma babysit then you might ask your state if she is required to have fingerprinting and criminal history checks. Otherwise, your only resources for a Saturday night date may be professional certified childcare providers.”
Most people think that fingerprinting should be an easy enough process and once done they are one step closer to adopting. Unfortunately, this is not always so.
According to HowStuffWorks, “Fingerprinting has come a long way from the days when police officers lifted prints from a crime scene and checked them manually against their files. Modern fingerprinting techniques can not only check millions of criminal records simultaneously, but can also match faces, backgrounds and other identifiable characteristics to each perpetrator.
WebMD wrote, “A complete DNA fingerprinting requires a blood test to determine the complete genetic blueprint of a given individual.” However, for adoption purposes the actual fingerprint from days gone by is used to determine identification.
WiseGeek explains, “Electronic fingerprinting is fingerprinting which is accomplished with the use of electronic equipment to capture an image of the subject's fingerprints. This technique is also sometimes known as inkless, live scan, or live capture fingerprinting, and it is in increasingly common use all over the world… In electronic fingerprinting, the fingers of the subject are rolled over a scanning bed which picks up the details of the fingerprints. The machine may be capable of printing out a card with the person's fingerprints, of adding fingerprints to identifications, and of storing the data electronically for internal use. In addition, the data can be sent out electronically for matching with remove databases.”
Unfortunately, PeopleKey gloss over the fact that some individuals cannot be fingerprinted. They say, “A very minor percentage of the population has poor quality fingerprints due to injuries, skin disorders or heavy manual labor.”
PeopleKey may see this as a minor occurrence but it becomes monumental for the good people who wish to adopt or foster out.
A friend of mine is trying to get custody of her grandnephew. So far she has gone through two fingerprinting tryouts and the images did not come out. She has only one try left or else she will not be able to take care of this child. She was told her fingerprints could not be read due to the aging process and years of washing dishes and so on. This lady is a homemaker, she is not a criminal and she is the best possible candidate to raise the child. She is a family member. If she cannot have the child, this child will be fostered out to strangers. It just isn’t fair.
Adoption.com also has individuals who do not have quality fingerprints asking what to do about the situation.
I think this situation is appalling. I did an internet search to find options available for people in this predicament. I came up with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting which offers a good cause exception process. The site states, “The length of the process depends on a number of factors. However, from the time the Board receives a complete application package and the criminal records that we order from the DPS, the Board will conduct an expedited review within 20 days. We normally receive the criminal records about seven to 10 days after we receive your application... At the expedited review, the Board will either grant you a fingerprint clearance card or schedule you for a hearing. If you must appear at a hearing, the process may take an additional three to four months.”
I am not even sure if this process is provided for custody purposes or is offered in every state. It remains a shame that there is so little help for people in this situation.