Wisconsin to Require FBI Fingerprint Checks for Child Care Providers

By Michael Klazema on 11/15/2013

According to a recent Associated Press article, the United States Department of Health and Human Services has stated that nearly three dozen states throughout the country now require federal fingerprint background checks for child care workers. Wisconsin became the latest addition to that list at the beginning of November, passing legislation that will require all child care providers working in the state to submit to an FBI fingerprint background check. The new employment screening process will go into effect in January, along with the state’s latest budget plan.

Wisconsin has been requiring FBI fingerprint scans on a limited basis for several years. In 2011, the state’s Department of Children and Families began instituting fingerprint scans for child care providers who had lived outside of the state within the three years prior to their employment. Until now, longtime state residents have only been subject to state background checks, with the logic that if they had any criminal activity, it would be on their state record.

However, Wisconsin’s decision to require FBI background checks for all child care workers—not just for new residents or for employees of child care centers, but also for in-home child care providers like nannies or babysitters—is a sign of the increased worry in the child care industry that workers may be using aliases to hide their pasts.

The Associated Press piece cited one specific example from Virginia, where a 13-week old infant died while in the care of a babysitter whom the parents had background checked through state records. When the parents ran a check on the caregiver’s social security sumber, they found a colorful criminal record dotted with convictions under aliases names associated with that social security number.

For Wisconsin, the new FBI background check provision is a means of making sure that fewer criminals “fall through the cracks” of their child care system. Fingerprinting will undoubtedly serve as a good weapon against evasive aliases and similar background check dodging methods. As was hinted at in the Virginia story, however, uncovering additional criminal records under alias names, can also be achieved by using private criminal database searches that use the subject's social security number to uncover alias names, like the ones offered in starter package. Those report also includes nationwide criminal checks and offender registry checks, with prices as low as $15 per search.


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  • December 11 The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General criticized a migrant youth detention center on the border for not running the proper background checks. Federal law requires the facility to screen all employees with FBI fingerprint checks.
  • December 06 In a bid to combat money laundering and illicit funding sources for terrorists flowing through the country's real estate sector, Singapore's government now mandates background checks for buyers purchasing properties prior to development.
  • December 04 What is a reference check? How does it vary from a work history check? We explore these questions and others.
  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 For hiring managers to verify the information provided on a resume, verification is essential.  Such is the purpose of employment history background checks.
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 21

    Verification checks are a powerful way to assess how truthful a job candidate has been on his or her application or resume. These checks can verify work history, education verification, professional licenses, and favorable personal qualities.