Over the next several years, new federal law will require states to conduct criminal background checks on all child care employees that work at a licensed, license-exempt, regulated, and registered child care provider. Your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency can update you on where your state is with implementation of this new law. It is always important to ask your provider if they have completed a background check on all adults who will be around your child.

WHO should have a comprehensive background check?

  • A child care provider is defined as a person working at a child care center, family child care provider, or another provider of child care services, such as a faith-based organization, community-based organizations, or a school.
  • Staff includes anyone who is involved in a child’s care or supervision of children or who may have unsupervised access to children. This includes bus drivers, kitchen staff, janitors, and administrative employees.
  • Family members who live in a family child care home who are over 18 must also have a comprehensive background check.
  • If a provider cares for children to whom they are related, then they do not need to have a comprehensive background check. However, all children in that provider’s care must be related to the provider.
  • Individuals who volunteer in a child care program may not need to have a comprehensive background check. Each state has its own policy regarding volunteers and background checks. Call your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency for more information.

WHAT does a comprehensive background check include?

  • State criminal and sex offender registry
  • State child abuse and neglect registry
  • National Crime Information Center (run by the FBI)
  • FBI fingerprint check
  • National Sex Offender Registered (run by the Department of Justice)

WHAT are the state and federal background check requirements for child care programs?

  • Federal law requires child care providers to submit requests for background checks for each staff member.
  • Staff can begin working at a child care facility before all pieces of the federal background check are completed but they must be supervised at all times by a staff member who has successfully completed the background check.
  • Staff members must complete a background check at least once every 5 years.

HOW do I know if the adults in my child’s child care program have had a comprehensive criminal history check?

If your child care program is one of the types of programs listed above, then your state may already be requiring comprehensive background checks. Learn more about your state’s requirements by visiting the State by State Resource Map or call your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency for additional information.

To learn more about the types of offenses that would prohibit an individual from working in child care or opening a family child care home, contact your state licensing office.

If your child care does not have a license, ask for proof of a completed criminal history check. If they do not have documentation, ask the caregivers to complete a check.