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Breaking News: Statewide Applicant Fingerprint Identification System (SAFIS), Schools Must Act Before November 29, 2013

[November 18, 2013]  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) just announced the creation of the Statewide Applicant Fingerprint Identification System, or “SAFIS”.  SAFIS has been developed to implement the Massachusetts law enacted earlier this year, which requires public and private schools in the Commonwealth to conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks for current and prospective employees who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children.

With the availability of SAFIS, employees newly hired for the 2013-2014 school year will be subject to the fingerprint-based checks.  Effective later in this school year, employees hired before July 1, 2013, will be subject to the checks, but on a phased-in schedule.

The results of these checks will be returned by the FBI to the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS), and DCJIS will forward the results to the schools.  In addition, DCJIS expects to implement a web-based application for direct access to state and national criminal history information. A more precise schedule for implementation, and a list of the locations of sites where employees can be fingerprinted, has not yet been released.

In the meantime, DESE is requiring immediate action by schools.  Each school must designate a staff person involved in the hiring process as the contact to receive criminal history information via secure email from DCJIS until the web-based system for accessing this information is in effect.  In order to be able to receive the secure email, schools must complete SAFIS-Form-002 and submit it via email to, by the close of business on Friday, November, 29, 2013.  To access SAFIS-Form-002, please click here.

For more background and information on the law, please see our earlier E-Alerts on this topic:

Massachusetts Imposes New Fingerprinting Requirements

Breaking News: Governor Of Massachusetts Has Signed Amendments To The Massachusetts Background Checks Law, Including The Fingerprinting Requirements

Please be assured that we will continue to monitor developments regarding implementation of the fingerprinting system in the Commonwealth, and we will provide updates as they become available.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about background check requirements applicable to your school, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Firm’s education practice group.