(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Care” means the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction, supervision, or recreation to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities.
(b) “Qualified entity” means a business or organization, whether public, private, operated for profit, operated not for profit, or voluntary, which provides care or care placement services, including a business or organization that licenses or certifies others to provide care or care placement services.
(2)(a) A qualified entity must register with the department before submitting a request for screening under this section. Each such request must be voluntary and conform to the requirements established in the National Child Protection Act of 1993, as amended. As a part of the registration, the qualified entity must agree to comply with state and federal law and must so indicate by signing an agreement approved by the department. The department may periodically audit qualified entities to ensure compliance with federal law and this section.
(b) A qualified entity shall submit to the department a request for screening an employee or volunteer or person applying to be an employee or volunteer by submitting fingerprints, or the request may be submitted electronically. The qualified entity must maintain a signed waiver allowing the release of the state and national criminal history record information to the qualified entity.
(c) Each such request must be accompanied by payment of a fee for a statewide criminal history check by the department established by s. 943.053, plus the amount currently prescribed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the national criminal history check in compliance with the National Child Protection Act of 1993, as amended. Payments must be made in the manner prescribed by the department by rule.
(d) Any current or prospective employee or volunteer who is subject to a request for screening must indicate to the qualified entity submitting the request the name and address of each qualified entity that has submitted a previous request for screening regarding that employee or volunteer.
(3) The department shall provide directly to the qualified entity the state criminal history records that are not exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 or otherwise confidential under law. A person who is the subject of a state criminal history record may challenge the record only as provided in s. 943.056.
(4) The national criminal history data is available to qualified entities to use only for the purpose of screening employees and volunteers or persons applying to be an employee or volunteer with a qualified entity. The department shall provide this national criminal history record information directly to the qualified entity as authorized by the written waiver required for submission of a request to the department.
(5) The determination whether the criminal history record shows that the employee or volunteer has been convicted of or is under pending indictment for any crime that bears upon the fitness of the employee or volunteer to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children, the elderly, or disabled persons shall solely be made by the qualified entity. This section does not require the department to make such a determination on behalf of any qualified entity.
(6) The qualified entity must notify in writing the person of his or her right to obtain a copy of any background screening report, including the criminal history records, if any, contained in the report, and of the person’s right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of any information contained in any such report and to obtain a determination as to the validity of such challenge before a final determination regarding the person is made by the qualified entity reviewing the criminal history information. A qualified entity that is required by law to apply screening criteria, including any right to contest or request an exemption from disqualification, shall apply such screening criteria to the state and national criminal history record information received from the department for those persons subject to the required screening.
(7) The department may establish a database of registered qualified entities and make this data available free of charge to all registered qualified entities. The database must include, at a minimum, the name, address, and phone number of each qualified entity.
(8) A qualified entity is not liable for damages solely for failing to obtain the information authorized under this section with respect to an employee or volunteer. The state, any political subdivision of the state, or any agency, officer, or employee of the state or a political subdivision is not liable for damages for providing the information requested under this section.
(9) The department has authority to adopt rules to implement this section.