The first of those requirements pertains to fingerprint background checks. Any staff member working at any child care business in the state will need to go through a fingerprint-based background check as part of the new law. This requirement doesn’t just apply to employees but also to volunteers. Anyone whose list of responsibilities will include unsupervised time with children needs to have a fingerprint background check on file to work legally in most segments of the child care industry.
The second new requirement adds another layer of background checking to the child care vetting process. In addition to fingerprint background check, child care providers will need to put staff members through federal-level criminal history searches. The MyNDNow article notes these checks could include in-state Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) searches, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database searches, or both.
These two requirements relate to a federal law: the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. That law directed states across the country to implement fingerprint, BCI, and FBI background checks for child care. North Dakota has not enforced these requirements yet but will start doing so after October 1. The Department of Human Services, which is managing the rollout of the new requirements, says it has been strategically implementing new parts of the law over the past three years. The slow rollout is intended to minimize adverse impacts of the law on daycare providers, such as difficulty in filling positions efficiently following staff turnover.
One feature of the new law will help daycares move forward efficiently when they need to fill a vacant position. New staff members will not be legally permitted to start work in a licensed or regulated daycare until they have completed the fingerprint background check. If this check shows no major convictions that would typically disqualify the applicant from working with children, however, he or she can start work. The employee or volunteer can only work in a supervised capacity until the results of the BCI or FBI background check come through. The Department of Human Services will review these findings and determine whether the person should be permitted to work in a daycare capacity. Only with a fully completed, reviewed, and approved background check will an employee be allowed to work in a fully-unsupervised role.
The requirements won’t apply to most in-home daycares. They only apply to licensed and regulated child care businesses. Most daycare centers fit into this category. While criminal background checks are important for child care, they are not the only background checks daycare businesses should consider running. Factors like education, work history, professional licensing or certification, drug use, possible alias usage, reference endorsements can shine a light on whether a person can be trusted with the safety and wellbeing of children. At backgroundchecks.com, we provide searches and verifications for all these details and more. Contact us today to get started.
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