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Transporting A ‘Troubled Teen’ To Utah – Not Without a License!

updated November 2023

Good news out of the state of Utah. Utah has a new code requiring Youth Transporation Companies (“Teen Transport,” “Involuntary Youth Transport,” “Being Gooned”) to register with the Office of Licensing and submit to criminal background screenings for all transporters.

Office of Licensing Rule R501-1-26(7) to register with the Office of Licensing and submit criminal background screenings for all transporters.

This is a step in requiring these companies to have more oversight, a level of professionalism that several companies were already raising. I know that this topic is rife with many feelings and traumatic experiences; the Office of Licensing Rule is not going to solve history. What the State of Utah has done is something no other state has yet to do and many states will never, that is they put forth the second licensing codes for “Troubled Teen Transport.” It is a step.

Additionally helpful, Utah Code 62A-2-101(51) also defines a YOUTH TRANSPORT COMPANY as “any person that transports a child for payment to or from a congregate care program in Utah,” not including a relative of the child, a state agency, or an employee of the congregate care program (who transports the child to or from the program with which they are employed).



Now that the state of Utah has these (long overdue) requirements if you are using a transport company to get an adolescent into the state of Utah (or anywhere IMHO), Utah has a new code requiring If you are referring adolescents to treatment in Utah – do NOT use any transport company that is not on this updated list as you are in violation of this code. **

As of November 2023, there are now six (6) fully registered and eight (8) teen transport companies that are “in Process” of becoming Registered Youth Transportation Companies with Utah’s Office of Licensing.

If you are interested in what is required by the State of Utah:

  • Business License: Please provide a copy of your business license.
  • Proof of Insurance: Please provide proof of insurance with $1,000,000.00 minimum coverage.
  • Background screenings must be done through DACS (Direct Access Clearance System)
  • Submit clearance worksheets for all Utah transport staff. A copy of the applicant’s ID and social security card MUST be included.
    1. The background screening fee is $42.25 per screening.
    2. Fingerprints may be done one of the following ways:
      1. Obtain a Fingerprint Authorization form from the Office of Licensing and take it to an authorized Livescan location to do electronic fingerprints.
      2. Submit two rolled fingerprint cards (done on cards obtained by the applicant at a local public safety office or fingerprinting location in the applicant’s state of origin) Fingerprint cards must be mailed (SLC address)

The new licensing rules are not earth-shattering. Any transport company that does not have these background screenings or fingerprinting of an employee or contractor is not legally safe. These are policies that every transport company needs to have as a point of doing business.

A little perspective on this: in order to student-teach in NYC public schools (an unpaid position), I was fingerprinted at an NYPD precinct and paid for this. Having a business license, paying for processing, having the minimum amount of insurance, and having background checks – these were and are the price of doing business.  If you are hiring someone to transport your child between two states, do your homework.

If you are a parent looking to hire a transport company — be sure to only hire the ones on the list by the state. Association of Mediation and Transport Services (AMATS) worked with the state of Utah to pass this.  

* If a staff member is employed by a treatment program, the State of Utah already requires those staff members to have background checks.

** I reached out to the state of Utah to find out if there was a fine for transporting a student into the state without being “In Process.” I did not receive communication back at the time of the publishing of the blog.

Listen to this podcast interview to hear the perspective of a former client on #teentransport – about min 37