Your child deserves to be safe and well cared for while you are not with them. One of the most important responsibilities of your child care provider is to keep your child safe from harm. One critical way your provider does this is by making sure that all adults caring for or with access to your child have had a comprehensive background check. Your child care provider should verify that this check shows that the adult does not have a history of child abuse or violence.

Who should have a comprehensive background check?

  • All adults living in a Family Child Care home,
  • Each child care center staff member, including directors, teachers, caregivers, bus drivers, janitors, kitchen staff and administrative employees, and
  • Every adult volunteering in the program that will have access to your child

What does a comprehensive background check include?

Background checks should be done using the following records for each state that the adult has lived in for the past five years:

  • State and federal criminal history check using the individual’s name
  • State and federal criminal history check using the individual’s fingerprints
  • Child abuse registry check (this may also be known as the Child Protection Index)
  • Sex offender registry check

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

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require some type of background check for child care programs. Currently, however, not every state requires a comprehensive background check. In 2014, Congress voted to update the federal law for child care, the Child Care and Development Block Grant. The changes to the law require comprehensive background checks for child care providers. That requirement must be met by all 50 states and DC over the next several years. Learn more about your state’s background check requirements by visiting our State by State Resource Map. Select your state in the drop-down box on the right, and then click on the Child Care tab.

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

Your state may already be requiring comprehensive criminal history checks for licensed, registered or certified child care programs.  You can learn more about your state’s child care requirements by visiting our State by State Resource Map. Search for your state in the box on the right, and then click on the Child Care tab. For information on types of offenses that would prohibit an individual from working in child care or opening a Family Child Care from their home, contact your state licensing office (contact information available on the map).

If your child’s caregiver does not have a license, ask for proof of a completed criminal history check. If they do not have documentation, ask the caregiver to complete a check, or conduct a criminal history check yourself.