Does A Welfare Check Go On Your Record?

Does a wellness check go on your record…Does a welfare check go on your record? Is there a difference?

Because every state has it’s own laws, these terms may be used interchangeably, depending on where the check is conducted and what the specific state law entails. But, for someone undergoing a background check, it can be helpful to know if these types of state-conducted interviews and visits are part of the public record and whether it might cause a failed background check.

Fortunately, the first thing that many people learn is how to do a free criminal background check on themselves, that way they can ‘get a copy of my criminal record‘ and check for any police reports included as part of a wellness check.

A wellness check is a weird incident that falls in between an official ‘police report’ and and an official “health record.”

Understanding these distinctions are important, because a person’s mental and physical health confidentiality is protected by federal law…but a person’s criminal record is totally public.

This complete welfare check guide for 2022 outlines the laws concerning wellness checks in all 50 states, and explains when such a visit might appear on the public record, and answers questions about individual rights and how to deal correctly and legally with federal and state intervention.

What’s the Difference Between a Wellness Check and a Welfare Check?

In general, there is no difference between a wellness check and a welfare check. Both terms, depending on the state, can indicate the same thing: a physical “check” or visitation that is conducted by a state agency to verify the well-being of an individual or individuals.

So, does a wellness check go on your record?

Normally, a welfare check will not show up on your record, assuming there was no more legal action taken by the police (such as an arrest). However, there will likely be a police record of the check.

For example, if the check was a visit to a person who had court ordered treatment, but who had not attended, and police discover further criminal activity during the check, the subsequent arrest and charges will be part of what shows up on a background check record.

Many people who undergo welfare checks, also wonder:

Understanding what types of incidents are part of the medical record and when they can overlap into the criminal record (which is public), is the key.

Are Wellness Checks Mandatory?

Wellness checks are not mandatory…however, police may force entry if they ‘suspect’ a child or another person is in danger.

The laws concerning what is considered provocation or “justified entry” vary between states.

For the most part, individuals who request a wellness check on another individual, do so because they are worried about the well-being of the other person. What happens when law enforcement performs the wellness check is something that will vary from state to state based on their wellness or welfare check laws.

What Does a Wellness Check Consist Of? (What is Considered a Wellness Check?)

In general, police will first try knocking on the door of the residence where the person lives. If the person doesn’t answer, police may decide to enter the residence by force.

The justification for the forced entry is the ‘request’ made, which in many states, can be anonymous.

Whether or not police will enter a residence by force will depend on the specific situation, as well as local laws.

For example, if it is clear that no one is home and there is nothing suspicious about the situation, it is possible the police will simply leave and likely contact the individual that made the wellness check request that there appeared to be nobody home.

On the other hand, if there is evidence that someone is in danger, such as smoke or other suspicious circumstances, the police will be much more likely to enter the premises. Law enforcement entering a residence by force without the owner allowing them to enter poses a number of legal problems, so it is usually only done in dire circumstances.

Regardless of the outcome of a wellness check, the answer to “Does a wellness check go on your record?” is the same: Only if additional legal action is taken during the check, such as an arrest.

Can You Refuse a Welfare Check?

As mentioned, the laws surrounding police entering a person’s private residence are quite complicated and vary based on jurisdiction. However, it is possible to refuse the police to enter your home, if they claim to be there on a wellness check.

Assuming the police have no reason to believe that a crime has been committed, there is technically nothing that law enforcement can do to enter the residence.

However, refusing a wellness check can raise suspicion in the view of a law enforcement officer and they may find probable cause based on this information and be able to enter the home through that means.

This has happened in a number of states with laws that allow anonymous red flag calls, sometimes with terrible results.

Welfare checks are very unique situations because they essentially circumvent the right to privacy by allowing a warrant-based approach to be used without any physical evidence of wrongdoing. Essentially, these sorts of checks  (in many states) circumvent a person’s right to due process.

How To Get a Copy of Your Police Wellness Check (Find Out Do Welfare Checks go on Your Record)

For legal purposes or otherwise, it may be a good idea to get a copy of a wellness check from the police. Since all police reports are considered public records this should be a relatively easy process for anyone wondering do incident reports go on your record.

Step 1: Access the Police Department Website

Accessing the website of the police department that conducted the wellness check will be the first step. Every department handles records request a little differently so getting information on the specific police department is essential

For example, if a wellness check was conducted by the Denver Police Department, then individuals should first check their official website.

Step 2: Locate the Records Page

Almost every police department website will have a page dedicated to police records, with information on how to request them. As mentioned, police departments are required by law to make records accessible and many will have a form that individuals can fill out to request certain records.

For example, the homepage of the Denver Police Department website has a link to a page titled “Police Records.”

Step 3: Complete a Records Request

The final step is to follow the specific step set out by the department to request records. This will usually involve a form that can be filled out and sent to the police department via mail, email, or in person. Other departments will allow records requests by mail or possibly even have an online record request system.

For example, in Denver, individuals only need to download and fill out the application form for the type of record they need. Once filled out the form can be submitted online.

What Justifies a Welfare Check? (Police Welfare Check)

What justifies a welfare check varies based on each specific case. In general, it is recommended that individuals request a welfare check if they are worried about another person’s well-being.

This too is open to interpretation, but it usually means that there is a specific reason to believe the person (or child) may be in some kind of danger or at the very least they are exhibiting behavior that is out of the ordinary.

How To Stop Wellness Checks (When Does a Wellness Check Become Harassment?)

Read our article about when does a wellness check becomes harassment.

Since the police are almost always going to respond to a wellness check to ensure there is no one in danger, some individuals have used this tactic to continuously send law enforcement to the home of another individual.

There is no specific amount of time that turns a wellness check into harassment, generally, it becomes harassment when the individual feels harassed. There are two main ways to deal with wellness checks that are starting to delve into the realm of harassment.

The first is to contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to guide you through the legal process and the best way to approach the situation, according to the specific state laws. Based on who is involved, an attorney may recommend speaking to the police department carrying out the welfare checks, or more aggressive legal means to stop the harassment.

An attorney is also the best option if the harassment is coming from a state agency or law enforcement.

Another option for those hesitant to hire an attorney is to contact the police department directly about the situation. Accessing the police department’s website and finding non-emergency contact information is likely the best way to go about this. It may not make a huge difference, but at the very least the police will be aware of the situation any time an officer is asked to do a welfare check.

State Laws on Welfare Checks (Does a Welfare Check go on Your Record?)

The laws surrounding ‘do a welfare check go on your record,’ are very specific and are different in every state.

The following table includes links to find out “does a wellness check go on your record” in any given state.

State  Welfare Check Law Conditions
Alabama Child Protective Services Policies and Procedures Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
Alaska Alaska Statutes Title 47: Welfare, Social Service and Institutions Anyone can make a claim, certain individuals are required to make a claim.
Arizona Arizona Revised Statutes – Title 46 Police will determine if a welfare check is necessary based on evidence.
California Best Manner to Conduct Welfare Check Each police department develops their own procedures
Colorado Title 19. Children’s Code Police may enter the home to administer emergency assistance.
Connecticut Department Of Emergency Services and Public Protection  – Wellness Check Procedures Police undergo training every 5 years on how to respond to wellness checks.
Delaware Title 31. Chapter 3: Child Welfare Police will determine if a welfare check is necessary based on evidence.
Florida Taylor vs. the State of Florida Anyone can make a claim, police can only enter a home with probable cause.
Georgia Georgia Department of Human Services Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
Hawaii Adult Protective and Community Services Branch Anyone can make a claim anonymously through the DHS, which will trigger a police investigation.
Idaho Child Welfare Process Anyone concerned about someone’s safety can make a claim that will trigger an investigation.
Illinois Community Caretaking Function Police can enter a home if they have a reasonable belief that someone is in need of aid.
Indiana Indiana Code Title 12. Human Services Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
Iowa Iowa Legislature Chapter 234 Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
Kansas Child Protective Services Prevention and Protection CPS determines if a child is in danger and if CPS should be involved.
Kentucky Child Protection Branch Anyone with reasonable suspicion that someone is in danger can make a request.
Louisiana Public Welfare and Assistance Officers are obligated to prevent further abuse and harm during a check.
Maine Child Protection Act Anyone with reasonable suspicion that someone is in danger can make a request.
Maryland Child Protective Services Individuals who suspect abuse can call their local child abuse reporting agency
Massachusetts Child Abuse and Neglect Laws Anyone can report suspected abuse, certain people are required to report it.
Michigan Michigan Legislature Section 764.15d Police can enter a residence in the event of an “emergency”, a situation that requires immediate action.
Minnesota Public Child Welfare Program Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
Missouri Protective custody of the child Police can take protective custody of a child that is deemed to be in danger during a welfare check.
Mississippi Peace Officer Standards Law Enforcement officers are required to pass peace officer training which includes procedures on how to handle wellness checks.
Montana Adult Protective Services Anyone can fill out an anonymous report of neglect or abuse using the online form which will be investigated by the DPHHS
Nebraska Nebraska State Constitution Article I-7 An officer can enter a home without a warrant during a welfare check if there is reasonable evidence a crime has been committed.
Nevada Peace Officers and other Law Enforcement Personnel Officers are required by Nevada Law to respond to any reports of domestic violence, including those made as part of a welfare check request.
New Hampshire New Hampshire Adult Protection Law Individuals who suspect abuse, but do not necessarily have proof can call BEAS to make a report which will prompt an investigation.
New Jersey NJ Police Model Rules and Regulations Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without warrant.
New Mexico Search and Seizure Manual Officers may only enter a home without an invitation if there is reason to believe a crime has been committed.
New York New York Child Protective Services Anyone can report suspected abuse. There is also a list of mandated reporters.
North Carolina North Carolina Department of Social Services Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
North Dakota North Dakota Child Protection Program An individual can call the state-wide neglect and abuse reporting hotline.
Ohio Ohio Department of Aging The Ohio Department of Aging has a program to allow for wellness checks on the elderly.
Oklahoma Child Welfare Services Individuals in Oklahoma are required by law to report child abuse and neglect
Oregon Oregon Child Protective Services Checks Only government agencies can request CPS checks. Any citizen can request a general wellness check.
Pennsylvania PA Department of Human Services Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without a warrant.
Rhode Island Elder Protective Services Rhode Island law requires individuals to report suspected abuse which will result in an investigation.
South Carolina South Carolina Childs Code Based on the report, either the Department of Social Services or local Police Department will investigate abuse reports.
South Dakota Division of Child Protective Services Individuals who suspect child neglect or abuse can call the South Dakota CPS to instigate an investigation.
Tennessee Tennessee Code Title 71 Each law enforcement agency develops their own procedures for dealing with child abuse claims.
Texas Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Police need probable cause to enter the premises during a welfare check.
Utah Utah Code Section 62A Utah law enforcement has the right to take protective custody of a child that is in danger.
Vermont Vermont Statutes Title 25 Chapter 55 Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without warrant.
Virginia Child Welfare and Other Services Social Services is in charge of investigating any claims of abuse against children or other vulnerable groups.
Washington Washington House bill 1310 Social workers respond to mental health and other non-violent welfare check requests, rather than the police.
West Virginia Adult Protective Services The APS works with law enforcement to investigate reports of abuse and neglect.
Wisconsin Wisconsin Legislature 968.24 Anyone can make an anonymous claim which will trigger an investigation, with or without warrant.
Wyoming Wyoming Department of Family Services Anyone who suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation is required by law to report to law enforcement.

Being on either end of a welfare check can be a stressful process. This can get even more stressful if something unexpected happens that may require legal action. Understanding local laws and being able to perform a records search on yourself can provide the exact answer to, ‘does a wellness check go on your record?’

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