Running a proper daycare background check is not only the law for employers, but many parents also perform personal background checks on individuals and businesses where their children will be cared for and taught.
Thankfully, this is easier than many people realize, thanks to databases that can be searched instantly.
Because of how background check laws work, permission is not needed when conducting a check for personal reasons such as looking into daycare workers. However, employers at daycare centers do need permission to check applicants.
This updated guide is designed to help anyone understand the background check process for daycare workers, which can help eliminate any issues before they show up.
What is Searched in a Background Check for Daycare Workers?
A background check for daycare workers is a little bit unique compared to a standard background check that someone might expect from a pre-employment background check. It’s more like a caregiver background check.
With a daycare background check, the standard searches will be performed as well as a few additional checks (special databases) that are specific for those who are working with children. They are also useful when combined with child abuse background checks.
Standard checks that will be a part of what shows up on employment related background check include:
Each state has slightly different regulations for what types of checks are required for those working with children, but most states include the following additional checks:
- State Sex Offender Registry check
- National Sex Offender Registry check
- State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry
- National Crime Information Center Check
- FBI Fingerprint Check
Not only are these the common checks required of childcare workers, but in many cases these daycare background checks are required by law to be performed on anyone that is working around children, such as school janitors and other jobs that involve close proximity to children.
Is There a Special Background Check for Daycare Employees?
Background checks for daycare employees are ensured by both state and federal laws that require certain checks be performed through a variety of government agencies before someone can work in a daycare.
Technically, the check falls under the jurisdiction of the state, and each state has various processes and search tools that are employed.
Although some states are still working on implementing it, there is a new federal law that dictates the minimum checks that childcare and daycare facilities must perform on all employees.
This law applies to everyone who works in childcare or at a daycare facility, even if they are not employees, which means that childcare volunteers are also required to undergo the same criminal history and background verification checks.
Federal Laws about Doing a Daycare Background Check
The federal laws surrounding a daycare background check are fairly new, which means that many states are still working to implement them. However, a number of states already have specific laws in place concerning what kind of checks must be run on anyone who works with children.
More information on state laws about daycare and nanny background checks is provided below.
Federal laws also dictate who must get a background check as well. In general, anyone who will have unsupervised access to any children at a daycare facility must receive a full and comprehensive background check. This means that volunteers, administrators or any other employees will likely need a level 2 background check. Even if it is unlikely that the individual will be around children unsupervised, most facilities will still require the employee undergo these checks.
The U.S. government explains what users should know about childcare background checks on its website, including required health and safety training, and the comprehensive and federal background check requirements.
This also applies to volunteers who are underage. Anyone working with children that is 16 years of age or older is required to undergo the same checks as other employees.
For those who are unsure whether or not the employees at a specific facility have undergone a comprehensive background check, individuals should be able to request the information from the facility.
How Often Are Background Checks Performed?
The new childcare background check law ordains that a full, comprehensive background check must be completed on every employee at least every 5 years.
In some cases a state may require a comprehensive background check to be completed even more often, but at most an employee will go 5 years between comprehensive checks.
Is There a Free Background Check for Daycare?
Because Daycare workers are required to undergo a comprehensive criminal history search, as well as pass child abuse and neglect registries in all fifty states, the options for getting a free background check for daycare workers are limited.
The best option would be to contract with a reputable background check agency that may offer a free trial period for background checks. However, many of these online sites are not designed to be used for employment purposes. To ensure full legal compliance, an official background check, complete with fingerprints, is required for daycare workers.
State Laws About Daycare Background Checks
Although the federal requirements for a daycare background check are fairly comprehensive, in many cases this will be the minimum as each state will also have their own additional requirements. In general the federal requirements are a little bit looser than what individuals can expect from most states.
For example North Carolina has several additional requirements, besides those mandated by the federal laws.
Background Check for Daycare: State Specific Laws
North Carolina has many additional laws surrounding who is required to get a daycare background check, what the check includes, how often it must be performed and more. All of these are laid out as part of the North Carolina Child Care Law
Who is required to get a check?
Compared to the federal laws, North Carolina has slightly higher restrictions in regards to who must get a childcare background check. A background check is required prior to the following:
- Becoming a child care facility employee
- Receiving a child care facility operation license
- Living in a family child care home
- Working as substitute at a child care facility
- Volunteers who will be with children unsupervised
What checks are required?
North Carolina also requires the following additional checks to work in a child care facility:
- Federal fingerprint database check
- State fingerprint database check
- National sex offender registry
- State sex offender registry
- North Carolina Administrative office of the courts name check.
- Responsible Individuals List check
- Child Maltreatment Registry check
- Criminal history check, sex offender registry check, Child abuse & neglect registry check from an state of residence in the last 5 years.
How often are checks required?
Although federal law only requires checks be completed every 5 years, North Carolina daycare background check laws require these checks be performed every 3 years.
What disqualifies an individual from working in childcare?
There are many different factors that are looked at when determining whether or not someone is fit to work in a childcare facility. Many of these decisions will be left to the discretion of the facility itself. However, the state of North Carolina also lays out numerous offenses that automatically disqualify individuals from working in childcare.
One of the most obvious disqualifications is any individuals that is listed on a sex offender registry. This will be an automatic disqualification. Individuals that are listed on child neglect and abuse registries are also prohibited from holding jobs in child care.
There are also specific rules regarding certain pending charges or convictions. However, there is a special review process in the case of pending charges.
Kentucky operates its national background check program (NBCP) from the Department of Health and Family Services.
In some states, paper checks may not be allowed, due to them being slightly less reliable compared to an online check. States such as Kentucky, require individuals undergoing a daycare background check make an online account so that they can be properly checked in certain databases.
Each state will have slightly different laws compared to those federally required. It’s important to understand the local laws regarding background checks to ensure a specific childcare facility is following the proper regulations. For more information about specific states, visit the daycare background check website of each state, listed below.
Children should be safe and parents should feel comfortable when taking them to a childcare facility of any kind. Understanding and knowing what is included in a daycare background check can help provide this peace of mind.