Stronger Background Checks for Federally Funded Child Care Centers

Nick Fishman

Criminal Background Checks







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.

A few key guidelines that will change, as reported by the Insurance Journal:

  • Rules would increase accountability among child care providers and improve transparency so parents know more about the facility their child is attending.
  • Workers would undergo fingerprinting and background checks and be required to receive training in first aid, CPR, safe sleeping for babies and poison prevention.
  • States would be required to conduct unannounced, in-person inspections at each child care center.
  • All states would use a rating system for quality issues, including curriculum and learning environment .

Based on EmployeeScreenIQ’s experience with our clients, some searches to consider for background checks within the education industry and child care centers include:

Sex Offender RegistryThe Multi-State Sex Offender Registry Database search provides sex offender case information in an easy–to–read report. Our extensive search capabilities check registered sex offender data sources nationwide.

County Criminal Record SearchCounty Criminal Records Searches are available in each county throughout the United States and are conducted in superior, upper, lower, and/or municipal court records as publicly available. These searches are used to determine if an applicant/employee has a felony, misdemeanor and in some instances, an infraction filing within the last seven years or longer if the record includes a legally reportable conviction.

Employment VerificationDates of employment, starting and ending positions and salaries, reason for termination, and eligibility for re-hire are examples of the information employers are asked to verify. An Employment Verification can differentiate honest mistakes from truly egregious attempts to further one’s career through blatantly inflated claims of salary and responsibility, or even attempts to cover up significant gaps in employment which should otherwise be explained.

Education Verification-An education verification confirms school(s) attended, diplomas, degrees & certificates awarded, dates of attendance, and additional information as available.

Visit our Education industry page to find out more information and read the full article from the Insurance Journal here.

For a testimony from one of our clients in the education industry, read our case study.


Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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  • There is definitely no excuse for running the best available background check for anyone dealing with the children or elderly. Our vulnerable citizens deserve no less.

    That being said, you make a great point Lauren that there would be a hard time regulating every business that provides this care, especially since some are very small and private.

    However, we need to start somewhere, and having higher standards for those businesses that are federally funded is a way to start.

    Thanks for sharing this information!

    • Lauren Conners

      Thanks, Kim! I definitely agree that this is a great start.

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