APD Home > Background Screening

Exemption from Disqualification

  • Who can apply for an exemption from APD? 
  • An applicant who has received a notice of disqualification or termination from employment may apply for an exemption from such disqualification, if the offense is one for which an exemption may be granted pursuant to s. 435.07, Florida Statutes. The provisions of that section are to be strictly construed when considering a request for exemption from disqualification.
  • Am I eligible to apply for an exemption?
  • To be eligible to request an exemption from disqualification:
    • It has been at least 3 years since you completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision or nonmonetary condition imposed by the court for all disqualifying felonies;
    • You completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision or nonmonetary condition imposed by the court for all disqualifying misdemeanors
    • You have paid all court-ordered financial assessments in full.  This includes any fee, fine, fund, lien, civil judgment, application, cost of prosecution, cost of supervision, trust or restitution as part of the judgment and sentence for any disqualifying felony or misdemeanor  
    • Anyone designated as a sexual predator, sexual offender or career offender is not eligible for an Exemption from Disqualification

  • How to apply for an exemption from disqualification?
  • If a disqualifying offense is identified for which an exemption is statutorily permitted, The Department of Children and Families (DCF) Background Screening Coordinator will prepare a letter to the applicant notifying the applicant of the disqualifying offense and offering the applicant the opportunity to request an exemption from disqualification.  The APD exemption application can be downloaded by clicking the button below.

  • Is there an application fee?
  • There is no application fee for the Application for Exemption from Disqualification.
  • Why does the letter only list my disqualifying offense(s)?
  • The letter will only list the offense(s) that disqualifies an individual. However, to be considered for an exemption, information for all offenses on your criminal history is required.
  • What if I cannot obtain all of the arrest reports, court dispositions, probation information and/or other information required?
  • You must make an attempt to obtain this documentation from the Clerk of Courts office, probation office or arresting agency. Documentation from the Clerk of Court and/or the arresting agency must be provided on their letterhead indicating the document(s) are no longer available. You must also provide a signed statement explaining the details of the arrest and the outcome, to include probation or sentencing information, court fees/fines and restitution for each offense for which you are unable to obtain complete documentation.
  • What is rehabilitation?
  • Rehabilitation includes successful completion of court-ordered treatment, counseling program, education, and training certificates; proof of participation in community activities; and special recognition or awards received. Rehabilitation can also be demonstrated by voluntary participation, as well.
  • Are there criteria or things in particular that needs to be included in the Letter of Recommendation?
  • Provide two or more original, signed and notarized letters of recommendation/reference that will attest to your good moral character.  One reference letter must be from a current or most recent employer on the employer’s letterhead. Include personal reference letters from individuals you have known through contact at the workplace, community activities, education or training centers. Individuals providing a Letter of Recommendation should include their name, address and telephone number for verification or possible interview. In addition, each letter of recommendation must be signed and dated.
  • How do I appeal if I am denied the exemption?
  • A certified letter is mailed to the address on the exemption application. You have 21 days from the date you sign for the certified letter to request an appeal.
    • Pursuant to Section 120.569, F.S., you have the right to request an administrative hearing within 21 days of your receipt of this letter. In order to obtain a formal proceeding before the Division of Administrative Hearings under Section 120.57(1), F.S., your request for an administrative hearing must conform to the requirements in Section 28-106.201, Florida Administrative Code, and must state the material facts you dispute.

    • Pursuant to Florida law, you have the right to re-apply for an exemption at any time. There are no limits as to the number of times you may apply for an exemption.

  • Can an exemption from another Florida state agency be considered?
  • Yes, another agency’s exemption may be considered, but each agency makes their own decisions regarding exemptions. If you have received an exemption from another state agency you may submit a copy with your request for an exemption as part of your proof of rehabilitation.
  • Is there a time limitation once an exemption is granted? 
  • If an exemption is granted by APD, there shall be no limitation in the duration of the exemption except as provided by statute.


    Inquiries regarding an exemption request or disqualifying offenses should be directed to:
    Department of Children or Families