Ensuring the Safety of Children with Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 3/15/2012

MSNBC’s Dateline program recently featured childcare workers across the country and the fact that there were criminals, many with a violent past that were licensed to take care of children. Some of the crimes that these people had been convicted of included child abuse, assault and even homicide. Several of these people were caring for children that lived in low-income situations, so even their own salaries were even paid by the state. When told about this situation, the parents of these children were absolutely shocked that criminals were taking care of their children. They had assumed that before being licensed, their state agencies would have performed background checks and eliminated these people from taking care of their children. This, however, is not always the case.

The truth is, every state is still allowed  to enact their own laws and regulations when it comes to background checks for those who take care of children. Some have no regulations at all while others have very strict background check procedures that childcare workers must go through before being licensed. Only half of states in the US require a background check and fingerprints for child care workers and only 10 states actually require fingerprinting before federal funds can be used to pay for these childcare workers. Fingerprinting typically gives access to a national search vs. just a local state wide search. This inconsistency leaves the door wide open for anyone with a criminal past to not only take care of children, but to also get paid for their work with federal money.

States with the most stringent regulations, like New York, not only put their licensed childcare workers through a full national criminal background check based on the FBI’s records in order to eliminate those who may have a history of criminal activity.

One thing that can be done, however, is for agencies that provide these childcare workers to carry out full background checks themselves. Using companies like can help eliminate those who have criminal backgrounds. Using their US OneSEARCH product, agencies not only get immediate access to searches of sex offender registries, but they can also cast a much wider net across every state in the nation in multiple to search for criminal records. When using a company such as this, companies who hire childcare workers can help reduce the chances that children will be cared for by people with the wrong criminal background.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


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