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Indiana Legislators Look to Close Childcare Background Check Loophole

By Michael Klazema on 3/5/2020

The US Census Bureau estimates that there are five million children in traditional daycare facilities with another two million children in private daycare arrangements. Add the numbers up and the statistic accounts for nearly a third of all children in the US. The question of how to ensure that daycares are safe environments is a major challenge facing state lawmakers and parents.  

The go-to solution in most cases is a wide-ranging criminal background check for daycare workers, such as the multi-jurisdictional US OneSEARCH by backgroundchecks.com. Though past actions may not be a foolproof indicator of future behavior, a background check may reveal information which makes it clear that an applicant is unsuited to work with children.  

To be effective, legal policies requiring background checks must apply to as much of an organization's staff as possible. In February 2020, an Indiana legislator filed a bill in the state House of Representatives to close what he identified as a loophole in the state's requirements for licensed daycare facilities. Under the current version of the law, only workers in direct contact with children are required to undergo a criminal background check. These rules resulted in checks that primarily apply to educators and caregivers working in a classroom setting. 

The law overlooked a critical consideration: people with indirect or non-care roles within the daycare system. From custodial staff contracted through a third-party to volunteer staff members, individuals can work around a daycare without any scrutiny regarding their backgrounds. The newly proposed bill would close this loophole, requiring background checks for all daycare workers, not just those in supervisory roles. 

No specific incident or crime prompted the move to close the loophole. Parents interviewed by local media in Indiana expressed support for the change.  

Daycares would be required to bear the cost of these additional background checks on their own. The law applies to all licensed daycares within the state, including those run from home. 

Church-run daycares are one notable exception to the law. Considered separate from the state-licensed system, these daycares only need to adhere to the background check requirements that they choose to implement on their own. Parents considering placing their children into these care groups should investigate how they create a safe environment before making any care decisions.  

For licensed daycares, the additional legwork of vetting support staff could create a hiring bottleneck as it has in other industries and states after the introduction of new legislative requirements. Having access to the proper tools for quick, effective investigations is essential for keeping the hiring pipeline flowing smoothly.  

At backgroundchecks.com, we supply robust tools well-suited for implementing background checks for daycare workers, from license verification and reference checks to ongoing criminal history reporting. As laws change and requirements tighten, compliance requires both knowledge of new rules and the tools to respond to them rapidly.


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