Background Checks

One of the biggest safety concerns parents have is that children are safe in the care of child care providers.

Fortunately, with the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant in 2014, states now require comprehensive background checks, including fingerprint checks, for all child care providers caring for unrelated children and for all providers receiving federal subsidies.

This is important because parents want to know that their child care providers and others who come into contact with children:

  • Do not have a record of violent offenses.
  • Do not have a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect.
  • Are not sex offenders.
  • Have not engaged in other behaviors which mean that they should not be in the business of caring for children.

According to our most recent research data the states conducting comprehensive background checks includes:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

CCAoA recommends a comprehensive background check.

A full background check includes

  • Using fingerprints for checks of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records.
  • Using fingerprints for state checks of criminal history records.
  • Checking the child abuse registry.
  • Checking the sex offender registry.

Currently there is not a one stop shop for parents to go to get the history records/safety of their providers. Therefore it is important that parents when searching for child care ask critical questions.

Parents can begin their search by calling their local experts – the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency. CCR&Rs can give you the facts about child care, and a list of child care options in your area that may meet your needs. They can help with questions like:

  • What are the licensing and background check requirements in my area?
  • How can I get information about complaints and licensing violations?
  • Does my family qualify for any child care financial assistance programs

For more information, call Child Care Aware toll-free at (800) 424-2246.

Resources online

  • 5 Steps to Choosing Child Care

Child Care Aware of America

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