Criminal Background Checks

When you place your child in child care, you want to feel comfortable with the choices you've made. One way to do so is to make sure a successful criminal background check has been completed on any adult who will come in contact with your child.

In a child care setting this should include the director, teachers, teacher's assistants, bus drivers, nurses, cooks, and custodians. Even volunteers coming into the center should receive criminal background checks. In a family child care home, a background check should include any of the porvider's adult family members or any helpers that might come in to the child care. Verify with your provider that anyone who has not had a successful background check completed is not left alone with your child.

Criminal background check requirements vary greatly by state and the reality is that most states do not conduct a state and federal fingerprint check on child care providers. Parents simply can't know if a provider has a violent criminal history unless a thorough background check is completed.

As of March 2012, all states conducted a background check. However, a simple background check using a name search is not as effective as a background check using a fingerprint match. For child care centers, the reality about background checks is:

  • 44 states require a check of the child abuse and neglect registry;
  • 28 states conduct a state fingerprint check;
  • 26 states conduct a federal and state fingerprint check; and,
  • 18 states require a check of the sex offender registry.
  • Only 10 states require a check of all of the above.

For family child care homes:

  • 38 states  require a check of the child abuse and neglect registry;
  • 24 states conduct a state fingerprint check;
  • 18 states require a check of the sex offender registry.

To learn more about background check regulations in your area, select one of the two options below:

Background Check Regulations for Family Child Care Homes

Background Check Regulations for Child Care Centers