Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

What It Is

​The Kentucky National Background Check Program offers enhanced pre-employment background check screening through the Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening System (KARES). This background screening process includes automatic and ongoing abuse registry checks and fingerprint-based background checks through the Kentucky State Police and the FBI.

KARES uses digital fingerprint scans to reduce identification errors and ongoing criminal checks. A feature called continuous assessment, previously known as rap back, enables update notifications for future arrests of active employees. Providers also can view available Kentucky criminal history reports.

For more information on continuous assessment and other system features, please refer to the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.

The KARES Web Portal

The KARES web portal supports the Kentucky National Background Check Program (NBCP), a fingerprint-supported state and FBI background check program available to eligible employers licensed by the Cabinet. By adding FBI checks to currently required background screening, employers help ensure their applicants can't hide criminal actions committed in other states.

Types of Providers Currently Eligible to Participate Kentucky's NBCP

  • Long-term care facilities including nursing facilities, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, Alzheimer’s nursing homes and personal care homes and intermediate care facilities for individuals with  intellectual disabilities;
  • Nursing pools providing staff to long-term care facilities;
  • Adult day health care programs;
  • Assisted-living communities;
  • Home health agencies;
  • Personal services agencies;
  • Providers of hospice care, including residential hospice providers;
  • Providers of home and community-based service; and
  • Other health facilities or services licensed under provisions of KRS Chapter 216B and other providers licensed by the Cabinet for which a state and national background check is required as a condition of employment.

Fingerprint Collection Sites

After the application for background check is submitted, the system provides a barcode on a fingerprint authorization form. This form is specific to the applicant and lists the three closest fingerprint collection sites to the applicant’s home address. If an applicant lives outside Kentucky, the form will list the three closest sites to the requesting facility. Applicants must take their fingerprint authorization form and valid government-issued photo ID for fingerprinting.

Counties with KARES fingerprint collection sites.

A KARES job applicant must have an application in the KARES system before they can be fingerprinted. Applicants may be required to make an appointment prior to arrival. Refer to the applicant specific, barcoded form for instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

​The Kentucky National Background Check Program (KY NBCP) is a fingerprint-supported state and FBI background check program available to eligible employers licensed by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. This program is designed to help protect vulnerable populations from possible abuse, neglect and exploitation by preventing bad actors from hiding criminal or abusive actions committed in other states.

​KARES is an online portal which facilitates the pre-employment background check process. Once inside the KARES web portal , an employer will check abuse registries, licensure status, and submit applicants for fingerprint criminal background checks. This online portal creates a single sign on point where an employer is able to store pre-employment check information and receive notifications on applicant information.

The portal will also facilitate ongoing abuse registry checks and continuous assessment “rap back” checks.

​Long-term care and other entities previously covered under the NBCP grant and any other provider licensed by the Cabinet in which a state and national background check is required as a condition of employment.

Any individual, hired directly or through contract, who has duties that involve (or may involve) one-on-one contact with a patient, resident or client of a NBCP-participating employer. This also includes any volunteer who has duties that are equivalent to the duties of an employee providing direct services and those duties involve (or may involve) one-on-one contact with a patient, resident or client.

Individuals exempt from a background check under KARES include physicians, surgeons dentists, psychologist, psychiatrist, podiatrist, audiologist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, dietician, therapist, phlebotomist, or any health care practitioner who is licensed to practice in Kentucky and is under contract with a participating employer in which a background check is required as a condition of professional licensure. Other excluded individuals include any individual who independently contracts with the long-term-care facility or provider to provide utility, construction, communications, or other services if the contracted services are not directly related to the provision of services to a resident, patient, or client.

Members of community-based or faith-based organizations that provide volunteer services that do not involve unsupervised interaction with a patient or resident; students participating in an internship program; or family members or friends visiting a patient or resident are not subject to the background check requirement.

​Abuse registry results are provided instantly in KARES while the fingerprint check is submitted separately. Employers should receive a clear for hire or not clear for hire notice within 3-5 business days from the date the applicant's fingerprints were submitted to the system.

Yes, an employer may hire an applicant as a provisional employee, if the applicant’s fingerprints have been taken and submitted to the system. An applicant can remain in provisional status for only 60 days or until the final determination has been completed.

During the period of provisional employment, the individual shall not have supervisory or disciplinary power or routine contact with patients, residents, or clients without supervision on site and immediately available to the individual.

​Fingerprint collection sites are based on the home address of the applicant. Once the application for background check has been submitted in the KARES portal, the system will provide a barcoded Fingerprint Authorization form. This form is specific to each individual applicant and will list the three closest fingerprint collection sites based on the applicant’s home address. The applicant will take this form along with a valid government issued photo ID for fingerprinting. In the case where an applicant resides outside of Kentucky, the barcoded form will use the address of the employer to determine the three closest fingerprint collection sites.

It is important to remember only KARES participating sites can submit fingerprints for the NBCP program. An active site listing is found and regularly updated in the KARES portal. Please use this listing and the sites on the authorization form to determine where an applicant should be fingerprinted.

The applicant or employee may appeal abuse registry findings or criminal background checks completed through the KY NBCP.

An applicant or employee may:

  1. Contact the Kentucky State Police or the FBI if he or she believes that the KSP or FBI criminal history report contains incomplete or inaccurate information; 
  2. Contact the agency responsible for maintaining an abuse registry if the applicant believes his or her name is listed on the registry in error;
  3. Request an informal review if he or she wishes to challenge the accuracy of the Cabinet’s fitness determination; or
  4. Request a rehabilitation review for certain offenses in which the applicant or employee is provided with an opportunity to demonstrate that he or she is rehabilitated and not likely to repeat the conduct that led to the disqualifying offense.

For detailed information regarding Applicant and Employee Appeal Rights under KY’s NBCP, click here.

​There are two types of contract workers. One type of contract worker is secured by long-term care employers from a staffing agency. The other type of worker is an independent contractor with whom a long-term care employer contracts with directly.

If a staffing agency supplies workers to a long-term care employer participating in the NBCP, the staffing agency must register for an account in the KARES web portal. The staffing agency would also be the entity responsible for submitting e-payment through the KARES web portal to cover the costs of the background checks. Notification regarding whether a contract worker is clear for hire or not clear for hire is sent to the staffing agency. If a staffing agency worker has a break in continuous employment longer than six months, he or she must be re-fingerprinted prior to working with another NBCP-participating employer.

NBCP-participating long-term care employers which contract directly with an independent contractor must secure a background check on the contractor via KARES web portal.

To enroll in this service, visit the KARES Providers page and follow the self-directed enrollment process. Once a user account has been created, sign into the portal through the Kentucky Online Gateway.

​Continuous assessment is the process formerly referred to as “rap back”. This process requires employers to enroll applicants into the service at the time of background check. Once enrolled, the service will send notifications through the KARES system regarding future arrest information as entered into KSP’s central repository. As this information will is arrest data, it may not include final case disposition. Employers will need to verify with their employee any updates to case status.

Employers must keep employee rosters in the KARES system up to date in order to receive notices. Notifications will only be available to those employers who have indicated the employee as hired within their KARES system. 

For employers to remain in compliance to receive future arrest notifications, they are required to have employees sign both required application forms. Employers may access the OIG 1:190-1 and the OIG 1:190-2 by visiting the For Providers page or by downloading the current forms from their KARES system.

​The KARES system will automatically check certain abuse registries and maintain updates on future arrest records only for those employees marked as hired with a provider. The KARES system will automatically recheck the Kentucky Nurse Aide and Home Health Abuse Registry, the Kentucky Caregiver Misconduct Registry, the Kentucky Child Abuse and Neglect (Central) Registry; and the Federal LEIE list. These ongoing checks will alert the employer to any new abuse findings after the date of hire indicated in the KARES system.

The KARES system will also automatically complete the Continuous Assessment and notify employers of any new arrest findings after the date of hire indicated in the KARES system.

​System users will receive notifications relating to the collection of fingerprints, such as time and date they were taken and if there have been issues in the submission of those fingerprints. Employers will also receive notifications that determinations are ready to be viewed in the KARES system and notices that verification of employment are due.

Employees listed as hired in the KARES system will be required to receive a yearly validation from their employer. This validation will ensure ongoing automatic checks via KARES and only requires the employer to indicate if the individual is still employed by the facility.

E-mail additional questions to the KARES program.