Department of Human Services

An expungement can be especially beneficial to individuals pursuing a career that will require licensing by the Department of Human Services.

DHS Licensing and Background Studies

Many different types of facilities and homes are licensed by the Department of Human Services ("DHS"). These facilities and homes include:

  • Hospitals
  • Child care centers
  • In-home child care businesses
  • Providers of child and adult foster care
  • Home Health Care Agencies
  • Nursing Homes
  • Chemical Dependency Counseling offices
  • Psychologist offices

DHS must study the backgrounds of every individual that is employed, or even volunteers with, a licensed facility. DHS must also study the backgrounds of individuals that provide in-home licensed child care or foster care, along with the backgrounds of individuals ages thirteen and over living in the home.


DHS will disqualify an individual from employment or from providing licensed care in a home due to a disqualifying conviction. Importantly, DHS can also disqualify individuals if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the individual committed a disqualifying crime. The person need not be convicted of the crime for DHS to disqualify the applicant. DHS will make a determination about whether it believes the individual committed a disqualifying crime based upon arrest and investigation records. DHS can disqualify individuals based only on an arrest.

Providers of licensed child care or foster care can be disqualified from providing care if someone living in the home is a disqualified by DHS due to a criminal history.

The length of the disqualification depends on the nature of the offense. Disqualification periods can last anywhere from five years, to a lifetime.

Responding To A Disqualification

The first option is to ask DHS for reconsideration of the disqualification. In the reconsideration process, the individual can address why he or she thinks DHS made the wrong decision.

The second option is to request a set-aside of the disqualification. In this process, the individual admits that he or she is properly disqualified, but the individual asks DHS to set-aside the disqualification. To set-aside the disqualification, DHS must find that the individual does not present a risk of harm to the people for which the facility provides care, or the children or adults in the licensed home child care or foster care. An individual must request a new set-aside each time the individual changes employers or jobs within the same facility.

DHS cannot set aside a disqualification if the offense requires disqualification for life. This is called a "permanent disqualification."

The third option is to seek expungement of the adult or juvenile record that is causing the disqualification. If the Court grants an expungement, it can order DHS to seal its record. DHS will not be able to use the record of that offense to disqualify the individual. The person will not need to request a set-aside or reconsideration to be able to be employed or volunteer in a licensed facility, or to be able to provide licensed in-home child or foster care.

Contact An Attorney

Arneson & Geffen has helped many clients understand and successfully work through the reconsideration and set aside processes with DHS. Additionally, Arneson & Geffen can accurately assess your situation to determine if reconsideration, set-aside, or expungement is the best remedy for you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about becoming licensed and overcoming disqualifications with the Department of Human Services.