background shadows

The Child Abuse Record Information (CARI) Unit performs the background checks for child abuse/neglect for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF).

New Jersey CARI Requests

Those who are subject to Child Abuse Record Information (CARI) checks include:

  • Child Care Center Employees – N.J.S.A. 30:5B-6.2
  • Resource Parent applications – N.J.S.A. 30:4C-27.7
  • Kinship Legal Guardians – N.J.S.A. 30:4C-86
  • DCF/Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) Residential Center Employees – N.J.S.A. 30:4C-27.22
  • Registered Family Child Care providers – N.J.S.A. 30:5B-25.3
  • Division of Family Development (DFD) Approved Homes – N.J.S.A. 30:5B-32
  • Professional Guardians for the Elderly – N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10e
  • Persons assuming care for children of incarcerated parents – N.J.S.A. 9:6-8-10c
  • Adoption Agency Employees – N.J.S.A. – 9:3-40.8
  • Prospective Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers – N.J.S.A. – 2A:4A-92(d)(2). 
  • Adoptive parent applicants (private or DCF) are checked – N.J.S.A. 9:3-54.2. 
  • DCF employees are checked. 
  • Juvenile Justice Commission employees – Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) – 42 U.S.C. 15601; 28 CFR 115.317; N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10a (b)(20)

All NJ DCF information and records are considered confidential pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10a Records of child abuse reports; confidentiality; disclosure.  If you are a New Jersey resident in need of a child abuse/neglect background check and you are not in the list above, please contact the CARI unit at 855-744-4913 and ask to speak with a supervisor. 


Out of State CARI Requests

Requests for CARI checks are based on the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, the Hague Convention requirements, the Universal Accreditation Act (UAA) of 2012, or a law/statute/regulation from your state that requires the NJ DCF CARI Unit to run the CARI request.

A State Law:  Please forward us a copy of your state law that affirms that your state is authorized to request background checks/child abuse clearances for a specific purpose from other states.  Keep in mind that your statute must contain language similar to “authorized in other states” in order to process a background check.  Provide us a copy of the statute with that portion highlighted.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act covers’ Title IV-E agencies processing applications for adoption and foster care.  The Act requires states to “check any child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the State for information on any prospective foster or adoptive parent and on any other adult living in the home of such a prospective parent, and request any other State in which any such prospective parent or other adult has resided in the preceding five years, to enable the State to check any child abuse and neglect registry maintained by such other State for such information, before the prospective foster or adoptive parent may be finally approved for placement of a child” and to comply with any request described (above) that is received from another State. 

The Hague Convention requirement is an agreement among Hague countries that serves the purpose of safeguarding children who are being adopted from other Hague countries.  Therefore, this requirement is solely used for International Adoption purposes, for adoptive applicants and household members over the age of 18.  The Convention requires adoptive applicants to provide child abuse/neglect clearances from all states/countries in which they resided from the age of 18 years.

The Universal Accreditation Act (UAA) of 2012 requires that adoption service providers (ASP)s handling non-Hague Convention adoption cases that fall under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 101(b)(1)(F) follow the same accreditation or approval process required of ASPs that handle Hague Convention cases under INA SECTION 101(b)(1)(G).  The UAA assures families pursing an intercountry adoption that regardless of the country from which they intend to adopt, the ASP they choose will comply with the same ethical standards of practice and conduct.

How to obtain an Out-of-State CARI Background Check:

  • Click on the Out-of-State hyperlink to obtain a copy of the OOS CARI Form.  
  • No faxed requests are accepted (unless it is an emergency). Please cite the statute that requires you to obtain the child abuse/neglect background check(s) and identify the reason for the background check(s) (i.e. employment, domestic/international adoption for resource (foster) care.
  • The information that the CARI Unit requires on the individual must include all aliases (married, maiden names, nicknames), race, date of birth, and all addresses where the person(s) resided while living in the State of New Jersey.  Please include timeframe (months/years) when the individual lived in New Jersey.  If the exact address is not known by the individual, the city or county that he/she lived in during the timeframe will suffice.  Social security number is optional.
  • Identify the individual making the request, job title and phone number.
  • If applicable, include a copy of the State agency license or certification for your agency or facility.
  • If other than an Adam Walsh, Hague Convention, or UAA of 2012 request, include a copy of the state statute which compels the disclosure of CARI information.
  • Please include a pre-paid return envelope with each request that is submitted since there is no fee charged for the background check.  Please note if a CARI is incomplete, it will be returned.  Completed CARIs will be processed accordingly and returned to the requesting entity.

Please submit requests to:

State of New Jersey
Department of Children and Families
Office of Legal Affairs – CARI Unit
PO Box 717-4th Floor
Trenton, NJ  08625-0717

Requests will be processed within 45 business days.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the CARI Unit at 855-744-4913.

Out-of-State CARI Request Form 

Please submit requests to:

Or mail to:
State of New Jersey
Department of Children and Families
Office of Legal Affairs – CARI Unit
PO Box 717-4th Floor
Trenton, NJ  08625-0717