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Section 3.02.02: Background Checks

The U-M SSW has had a long-standing commitment to assist individuals with criminal conviction histories so that they can pursue their MSW. We understand that some enrolled students may have had contact with the legal system in the past and we value the lived experiences that students bring to the MSW program and their field placement. The State of Michigan and other states have set forth exclusionary criteria for criminal conviction histories of both felonies and misdemeanors for professionals working in certain settings with specific populations. This includes workers in hospital settings, adult foster care, work involving children, and psychiatric settings. As a result, there are some field placements settings that may not be available based on an individual's criminal convictions history.

If an enrolled student has this type of history, that student should inform the Office of Field Education before interviewing for field placements so that an appropriate field placement can be identified. Even if a student had something expunged from their record, sometimes background checks still show this history. Students are informed that the Office of Field Education will not share this information with field placements sites without the student's permission.

The following question appears on the field placement application:
Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony including alcohol or drug-related driving offenses? Driving convictions such as operating while intoxicated, operating in the presence of drugs, operating without a license, etc., are generally misdemeanors or felonies and should be included. Please provide a short explanation which includes the date(s) of occurrence, what happened, and the outcome.

The criminal history record check is a process whereby the student completes a set of forms that are sent to the State of Michigan and reviewed for previous criminal activities and convictions that would prevent the student from working with a specified group of people. Information obtained through a criminal history record check includes registered home address, driving status, aliases, criminal history (including drug possession arrests), and personal protection orders.

Students interested in field placements in public school settings and hospitals should be aware that they will be required to complete and pass a criminal background check. Other settings may require background checks as well. The fee for this service is the responsibility of the MSW student and is typically about $70.00, but fees may vary. MSW students should be prepared to provide 3 references during this process.

Each state has different policies and procedures regarding criminal convictions, ethical violations and eligibility for a social work license. Students are responsible for investigating the licensure requirements in the state(s) in which they plan to practice. Please note that criminal conviction(s) may result in the denial of state licensure for social work.

Prior to beginning the program, students will need to verify that they have read the relevant information regarding criminal convictions. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management at 734-936-0961 if they have any questions.

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