No background check is created equal. If you haven’t heard this before, this simply means that there is no standard background check that will be sufficient for every job candidate or industry. It’s up to each company’s policy or hiring manager to determine if a candidate should have a criminal background check (and if that includes county, state, etc.), employment verification, education verification, etc. However, one industry in which this is especially complicated is education, and any organization that cares for children.
With frequent news stories of teachers or day care employees found with criminal records, it’s clear that many schools and child care centers lack a solid structure for their background screening process. Due to the fact that there isn’t a standard employee background check, each school district, county or state determines its own regulations for background checks. Each may use different background screening companies or another method for their background checks. In the instance that a criminal record is missed, it’s not that a background check wasn’t completed, but most likely the record wasn’t found in the first place. And while there is currently no way to regulate all child care centers and schools, steps are being taken to increase safety within at least one area-federally funded child care centers.
As an example, we posted a blog in December of last year about 31 military day care workers who passed background checks, and it was later discovered that they had criminal records. Considering stories like this, it’s without question that steps should be taken to create stronger background checks in order to protect children, in both schools and child care centers. When someone entrusts their child’s life to a stranger, a background check should not be an option, but a requirement. Not only is the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services taking action to improve employee background checks in federally funded child care centers, but they are taking additional steps to ensure overall safety.