Changes to Background Check Processes for Child Care and Early Learning

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Changes to Background Check Processes for Child Care and Early Learning

Dear Child Care and Early Learning Providers,

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed or closed many of our contracted electronic fingerprint vendor and local law enforcement agencies. This is preventing or significantly delaying our providers from completing the required fingerprint-based background check.

Effective immediately, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families' (DCYF) background check team is implementing the following changes so the department can reduce turnaround times, safely remove barriers and effectively assess individuals who may provide care to children:

  1. Allow individuals who pass an in-state background check to have unsupervised access while fingerprints are pending.
    All DCYF background check applicants who require fingerprints can be conditionally approved for the purpose of the background check if they pass an in-state name and date-of-birth background check. Fingerprints are still required and the DCYF background check team will track this work moving forward.
  2. Discontinue disqualifying early learning applicants for crimes that are neither federally disqualifying nor relate directly to child safety, permanence or well-being.
    Removing crimes on the early learning list that are not federally disqualifying or relate directly to child safety removes barriers to individuals disproportionately disqualified and creates opportunity for children and families to access culturally representative and responsive services.
  3. Stop requesting interstate child abuse and neglect history checks as part of the Child Care and Development Fund Block Grant Act (CCDF) background check requirements for early learning providers.
    DCYF is requesting a waiver with the Office of Child Care (OCC) for the requirement to request child abuse and neglect history checks of every state an early learning applicant has lived in the five years preceding the background check application. The goal is to reduce turnaround times for these background checks during this emergency. Most states have an approved waiver for this requirement through Sept. 30, 2020.
  4. What does this mean for child care providers who are hiring new staff?
    Providers will still complete background check applications. The DCYF background check team will complete in-state background checks, determine if the individual is conditionally approved for the purpose of the background check and notify the individual if approved. Applicants will continue to receive the fingerprint appointment forms and they will need to submit fingerprints when it is safe and resources are available.

Thank you for everything you are doing to keep our state’s youngest learners safe and healthy during this difficult time.

For more information about DCYF’s response to the spread of COVID-19, visit

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