Believe it or not, in some states it is possible for a convicted felon to legally work in a child care facility. Furthermore, only 17 states require a check of staff against the sex offender registry. Ohio and Kentucky are among those who don’t require this check.
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), “currently there is no national safeguard to ensure that the more than 11 million children in child care are cared for by providers without a criminal record.” Child care regulations on background checks vary from state to state. This means that someone could have a vast criminal record in one state, move to another state and work in child care.
Parents have lots to juggle when making the difficult choice about care for their child. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the caregiver has a criminal background. Parents should be able to expect that their child will be safe.
There is a solution.
A comprehensive background check is available. This check, using fingerprints, covers criminal background, the sex offender registry, and a check of the child abuse and neglect registries. This type of check cannot be falsified like the type that requires only a person’s name. Legislation that will mandate these checks nationally is currently pending in Congress.
We don’t have to wait for the law to pass. There is a lot you can do now. You can stand up for the children in your program by instituting a comprehensive background check for staff. If you believe in this as strongly as I do, you can contact your Senator or Representative and use this simple form to send them a letter.
This, we can all agree on. Our primary job is to protect and keep children safe. Parents count on us to look after their most prized possession and we should take that responsibility very seriously. Please join me in relentless support of comprehensive criminal background checks of all child care providers.