Georgia Child Care Providers React to New Background Check Legislation

By Michael Klazema on 5/14/2013

Earlier this month, Georgia expanded its background check policy for childcare workers to include fingerprint-based multi-jurisdictional criminal background checks in addition to state and local background checks.

As parents and child care workers react to the new law, most of the feedback has been positive. For example, Nancy Isaacson, the director of Best Academy, reported that she believes the new requirements will help ease parents’ minds about leaving their children in the care of others. Isaacson said that the most common question she hears from parents who are considering enrolling their children in her Savannah, Georgia early learning center has to do with background checks. Parents want to know what Best Academy is doing to keep their kids safe from predators. Now Isaacson can answer this question with more confidence, because the extra layer of pre-employment screening will provide a more robust picture of each potential child care worker’s criminal background.

State and local background checks only reveal criminal activity that occurred in the area where the employee is currently living and working. National background checks, on the other hand, are by nature more comprehensive. They can reveal crimes committed in neighboring states or even all the way across the country. For example, the US OneSEARCH tool from can reveal criminal convictions in every state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. US OneSEARCH also has the important benefit of combing through data from offender registries across the country, to ensure that where appropriate offenders are excluded from employment at child care facilities where they could potentially victimize the children they are meant to care for and protect.

What about the costs of this extra layer of background screening? Isaacson said she doesn’t mind footing the bill for the background checks, as the new law will require. She believes it is a small price to pay for the improved peace of mind that parents and workers alike will feel, knowing that kids are as safe as possible.

The law is expected to take effect for all new child care workers hired next year. Existing workers will have to pass the fingerprint-based national background check by 2017. This may leave some parents wondering about the interim. Why the delay? When national background check services from companies like can be completed instantly, why is it necessary to budget so much time for the adoption and implementation of the new policy?

Parents may also wonder about the possibility of new workers passing the background check and then committing a crime later on down the line. How will these crimes be detected? With the use of a tool like Ongoing Criminal Monitoring from, employers can be notified of publicly recorded criminal activity immediately. This allows employers to get ahead of the curve and deal with the situation before the media gets a hold of it. For example, an employer might choose to place an employee on suspension until the criminal charges are proven or disproven, especially if the crime in question involves violence or crimes against minors.

Ultimately, the government can legislate all it wants, but it is still up to individual child care facility directors to check up on employees regularly and assess their ongoing fitness to work with kids.


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