The North Dakota Department of Human Services will launch a new simplified criminal background check authorization form and enhanced website content on Aug. 1 as part of its work to continue reducing the time it takes to process fingerprint-based criminal background checks. Three criminal background check authorization forms have been consolidated into one simplified form (SFN 829) eliminating duplicative processes. Applicants will be required to type their information into the new online form, which will reduce the number of applications returned because of unreadable handwriting.Applicants can electronically sign the new form and print a copy to bring with them when they go be fingerprinted. “A tremendous amount of time and collaboration with stakeholders went into the design of this new form,” said Tara Reed, with the department's Criminal Background Check Unit (CBCU). “The main goal was to make it more user-friendly, so we receive complete criminal background check applications on the front end, which decreases the processing time.” The department will also upload new website content specific to the CBCU at background check applicants will find links to forms, fingerprinting locations, FAQs and other important information.Applicants who are required to complete out-of-state forms for their criminal background checks will find authorization forms and instructions on how to complete the forms from 49 states and the District of Columbia. Reed said that by having this information in one easy-to-access place, it will help expedite the criminal background check process even more for applicants.The department completes criminal background checks for multiple children and family service areas. These include foster care licensing, employment in licensed foster care facilities, child care licensing and employment in licensed or regulated child care settings, adoption including employment by licensed child placement agencies, guardianship, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Kinship Care and relative care placements.”Over the past eight months, progress has been made in creating efficiencies to reduce the turnaround time of criminal background checks,” Reed said. “We are really excited about the new simplified form and comprehensive website content and we are hopeful North Dakotans will benefit greatly from our efforts.”