Press Releases

NACCRRA Strongly Supports Administration for Children and Families’ Call for Comprehensive Background Checks for Child Care Providers

October 2, 2011

Recommendations provide specific guidance that all child care providers should undergo comprehensive background checks as part of minimum health and safety requirements

Arlington, VA—The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) strongly supports the Information Memorandum released today by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) which calls for comprehensive background checks for all child care providers, including those who serve children receiving Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies.

The memorandum provides specific guidance for CCDF Lead Agencies administering child care programs under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 1990. To protect the safety of children in child care and minimize children’s risk of abuse and neglect, the Office of Child Care recommends that all child care providers undergo comprehensive background checks, including a fingerprint check of State criminal history records, a check of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records, and a check of the child abuse, neglect and sex offender registries.

 “The reality is that only a handful of states conduct effective background checks for child care providers, including providers who receive federal funds. Without a comprehensive check, states have no way of knowing whether a child care provider has a history of violent convictions and the safety of children is at risk,” said NACCRRA Executive Director Linda K. Smith. “We applaud the Administration for making comprehensive background checks for all child care providers a top priority.’”

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in at least 24 cases, individuals with prior convictions of serious sexual offenses were employed at child care facilities. Seven of those cases involved offenders who were previously found guilty of targeting children and in three of the cases, individuals used their access to children in child care to offend again. GAO also discovered instances in which child care facilities knowingly hired sex offenders while receiving CCDF funds, did not conduct pre-employment background checks and operated without licenses.

More than 11 million children are in child care each week in the United States. NACCRRA’s nationwide poll of parents shows that 95 percent of parents with children under age 5 support a background check for child care providers. Currently, the CCDBG, the law that allocates funds to states for child care, does not require background checks. To ensure that children are in settings that are safe and promote healthy development.  NACCRRA recommends that Congress require comprehensive background checks for all paid child care providers who regularly care for unrelated children.

Legislation is pending to require comprehensive background checks, including fingerprints. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has introduced the Child Care Protection Act (S. 581), Representative C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-MD) has introduced the Child Care Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 1726) and Representative André Carson (D-IN) has introduced the Child Care Criminal Background Check Act of 2011 (H.R. 1711).

For more information about the proposed background check legislation and NACCRRA's Background Check Campaign visit http://www.naccrra.org/public-policy/advocacy-campaigns

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NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high quality, affordable childcare. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about NACCRRA and how you can join us in ensuring access to high-quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.