Skip to content

What is a Live Scan, where should I get Live Scanned, and why does it take so long to get results of a criminal background check?

A Live Scan (sometimes written “Livescan”) is a means of checking a person’s history of criminal arrests and convictions. It is fingerprint-based but can entail significant manual research, as well. Foster parents and pre-adoptive parents typically are asked to Live Scan multiple times, which can be annoying (not to mention expensive).  Live Scan results have a limited shelf-lie and are not valid after a period prescribed by regulation, so it is common for foster and pre-adoptive parents to be asked to repeatedly Live Scan. Relatives who want to be approved to monitor visits must also Live Scan.  There are many legitimate factors that cause delay results of a Live Scan. A common reason for delay in receiving Live Scan results is incorrect input of initial information by the Live Scan technician into the computer. A summary of the Live Scan process in the State of California and a discussion of the factors that contribute to delayed results is available here:

There are public Live Scan service locations in many public agencies, including at the Edelman Children’s Court in Los Angeles.  Public sites charge lower fees than Live Scan sites operated by private operators. (Public sites typically charge $20-$40). For a list of pubic Live Scan sites, click here: