Background checks for child care providers are essential to ensure that individuals who have a history of violent offenses are not licensed to provide child care or hired to work in a child care center.
Parents expect their children to be safe in child care. Many parents logically assume that background checks are required for licensed child care providers. The reality is that the logical assumptions of parents far exceed federal and state laws.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the federal law that allocates funds to states for child care and sets the parameters for state child care laws, does NOT require a background check for child care providers.
As a result, state background check requirements vary greatly, and few states require a comprehensive background check before granting a child care license to providers, hiring employees to work in a child care center, or allowing the receipt of a federal subsidy.
A comprehensive background check includes:
- Checking Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records (which are based on fingerprints).
- Using fingerprints to check state criminal history records.
- Checking the child abuse registry.
- Checking the sex offender registry.
Background Checks are Necessary to Protect Children
The vast majority of child care providers are well-meaning adults who love caring for children and who seek to protect their safety and overall well-being. At the same time, studies have shown that there are some individuals who may not share those goals or who may be a risk to the safety and well-being of children. A background check acts as a sieve to exclude those individuals who should not be in the business of caring for unrelated children. Read Child Care Aware of America’s latest white paper: Background Checks: It is Time to Protect Children.