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.

Requests for CARI checks are based on the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, Hague Convention requirements or other State statute.

If you are an out-of-state agency in need of a CARI background check for an individual that has moved from New Jersey to your state or country, your request must meet the below criteria. If a request does not conform to state law, the Adam Walsh Act or the Hague Convention, a CARI check cannot be processed.

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.

How to Obtain a CARI Check
  • Mail a request to OOL on agency letterhead. No faxed requests are accepted (unless it is an emergency). Provide original /signed “Releases of Information” or consent forms from the individual(s) that the request identifies.  Without these signatures, the request can not be processed and will be returned. Please cite the statute that requires you to obtain this information and identify the reason for the background check (i.e., domestic/international adoption or foster care only) for which the individual is seeking approval.
  • The information that OOL requires on the individual must include all aliases (married, maiden names), race, date of birth, social security number (optional), all addresses where the person(s) resided while living in New Jersey.  Please include timeframes (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 that timeframe will suffice.
  • Identify the individual making the request, job title and phone number. 
  • Include a copy of the agency license or certification. 
  • If other than a Hague or Adam Walsh request, include a copy of the state statute which compels the disclosure of CARI information, if not previously submitted to OOL. 
  • Please include a pre-paid return envelope with each request that is submitted since there is no fee charged for this background check

Upon completion, the CARI Unit will send a letter on DCF letterhead, identifying whether or not there is a record in the New Jersey Child Abuse/Neglect Registry.

Please submit requests to:

Department of Children and Families
Office of Licensing / CARI Unit
P.O. Box 717
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0717

Requests will be processed within 45 days of receipt.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact OOL at 877-667-9845.

Out of State CARI Check

Out-of-State CARI Check Instructions

Out-of-State CARI Check Application