What You Need to Know About Background Checks for Your Childcare Staff

June 3, 2024

What You Need to Know About Background Checks for Your Childcare Staff

Background checks for your childcare staff are non-negotiable if you want to provide a safe and protective environment for children and comply with federal and state laws. In this guide, check out what you need to know about background checks for employees of your early learning center. Keep reading to find out more. 

Who Needs a Background Check? 

Federal law mandates all U.S. States and territories to ensure that all staff in licensed childcare programs clear federal and state criminal background checks. 

According to ChildCare.gov, the following individuals must have a background check:

  • All adults (18 years of age and older) who work or live in a family childcare home 
  • All childcare center staff, including directors, teachers, caregivers, bus drivers, custodians, kitchen staff, and administrative employees
  • All adult volunteers in the childcare program who will have unsupervised access to children
  • Other adults who may come into the childcare program who will have unsupervised access to children, such as therapists and art, music, dance, or sports instructors

What Does a Comprehensive Background Check Include? 

The background check process includes the following specific required checks: 

  • A national FBI criminal history check with fingerprints
  • A search of the National Crime Information Center’s National Sex Offender Registry 
  • A search of the following state registries and databases where the childcare staff member currently lives and each state where the staff member has lived in the past five years:
    • State criminal registry or repository (fingerprints are required in the state where the staff member currently lives and are optional in other states)
    • State sex offender registry or repository
    • State-based child abuse and neglect registry and database 

How Often Are Background Checks Required? 

Background checks are required when onboarding new childcare staff members and at least once every five years going forward. 

Note: Employees going through the process of a background check may begin working at your childcare center before all components of the federal background check are completed, but they must be supervised at all times by a staff member who has successfully cleared the background check. 

How Can I Learn More About Background Check Requirements in My State? 

You can learn more about your state’s requirements by checking out the State by State Resource Map or call your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency for additional information. 

We’d like to add that if you run a childcare program without a license, you should still ask for proof of a completed criminal history check. If potential caregivers do not have documented proof, then you should ask them to complete a check. No matter what kind of childcare program you operate, these basic safety measures for the children in your care should be a standard requirement. 

Honest Buck Accounting exists to help Early Childhood Education business owners build a strong financial foundation and grow a more profitable childcare company. Reach out to us to speak with one of our accounting experts.

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