Does the Need for Caregivers Clash With the Need for Background Checks?

A nationwide labor shortage is impacting childcare and senior care services in many communities throughout the United States. It’s also igniting a new version of a familiar conversation about whether employers are losing potential job candidates by requiring stringent background checks as part of the hiring process. Could these employers solve their labor gap if they were less “picky” about who they hire? Or is being selective essential to keep vulnerable populations like kids and seniors safe?

Communities in North Carolina are among those that are struggling to keep up with the demand for childcare services. Per an article published by the Salisbury Post, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services indicated that the state has been losing childcare centers for years but that the number of actual childcare workers in North Carolina didn’t decline until Covid-19 struck. 

In mid-2020, though, the state started losing childcare professionals, with the number of workers “declining from more than 40,000 to about 37,000,” according to the Salisbury Post article. Because of early-Covid shutdowns that precluded childcare centers from operating, many qualified professionals in North Carolina left the childcare profession entirely – a problem that experts say has been common in other parts of the country.

Although Covid-era shutdowns aren’t a factor in 2022, many childcare providers still face employee shortages. And hiring new talent in the childcare industry isn’t easy. One issue is pay. Speaking to the Salisbury Post, some providers noted a challenging balancing act in the childcare industry between providing services that parents and families can afford and paying wages high enough to attract workers. 

Another balancing act? Background checks. The Post article also delved into the fact that childcare background checks can take “more than a month” to process. “By the time a prospective employee is fingerprinted and cleared, they may have found another job,” the article stated. An aging boomer population throughout the nation is also creating similar challenges staffing senior care facilities.

It’s not just childcare and senior care facing potential hurdles due to background checks. Per an Associated Press report, Kentucky’s Citizen Foster Care Review Boards are “in critical need” of volunteers who can “review cases to ensure that foster children are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.” All individuals interested in volunteering “must apply, consent to a criminal background check, and complete a training program” – steps that may be barriers to interested volunteers due to time commitment, criminal history, or other factors.

Childcare background checks, senior care vetting, and foster care criminal screening processes are necessary due diligence steps designed to protect vulnerable populations. Because malicious parties can easily take advantage of children and older adults, employers in these sectors must maintain strict background check policies when hiring new employees or volunteers. What shows up on a background check can range from serious felony convictions to child abuse charges, past sexual offenses, and fraud or identity theft. These issues raise red flags about a person’s ability to care for a child or a senior.

At backgroundchecks.com, we can help with childcare background checks or senior care background checks by providing a dynamic range of different products. Some of our searches even provide instant results so that employers can hire with confidence without waiting weeks or months for a check to process. 

We also offer ongoing criminal monitoring, a valuable tool to keep track of an employee’s criminal record after they are hired. Contact us today to learn more about these services and the others we offer.

Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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