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Background Checks

Last updated May 17, 2019

People who work in child care facilities must complete a comprehensive background check at least once every five years. There are new federal requirements for staff at centers, group child care homes and family care homes that Connecticut is rolling out in 2019. Please check this webpage often for updates.

Who needs a background check?

If you provide care for children in a child care cener or home, you’ll likely need to get a background check through the OEC. The following groups must get fingerprint-based background checks once every five years:

  • All child care staff, including employees and volunteers who are 16 and older and work with children 12 or more times per year.
  • Family home child care providers, their household members 16 and older, assistants, and substitutes.
  • License-exempt providers who receive Care 4 Kids funding, EXCEPT youth camps and unlicensed Care 4 Kids providers who are related to all the children in their care.those

If a child care center is hiring, individuals must wait until they’ve been hired or received an offer letter to start a background check. We do not offer pre-employment screening. The background check process must begin immediately, prior to the staff member working directly with children.

If you’re not a licensed provider yet, you’ll need to start the licensing process before you can get a background check. You can learn more about getting licensed by visiting our licensing page or contacting us at (860) 500-4450.

What if I already had a background check?

If you’ve worked in a child care facility that is licensed by OEC in the last five years, you may already have a completed child care background check recorded in the OEC database. Background checks completed for any other reason cannot be used as OEC child care background checks.

You will soon receive an email with instructions on how to access and use a new site for Staff/Volunteer/Household Member Rosters. Please complete your roster within two weeks after your email arrives. OEC will upload your roster into BCIS the new Background Check Information System database being developed by OEC – and tell you the date that results were most recently completed, or that a new background check is needed.

Why do I need a background check?

Certain crimes can make a person ineligible to own, work for, or be an assistant at a child care center or home. As a result, anyone who provides care for non-relative children in an unsupervised environment needs to get a background check. People who run family child care homes must also have all household members 16 and older checked.  If there is a disqualifying crime on a person’s record, or the person is listed on the Department of Children and Families Child Abuse or Neglect Registry, it may affect their ability to own or work in a child care facility. See a list of disqualifying crimes here.

Learn more about background check privacy rights

Learn more about how criminal records are used

How long does a background check take?

Once OEC receives your fingerprints, documents, and payment, we’ll send them to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and state police at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) for matching against criminal, sex offender and child abuse or neglect registries. It can take a couple of months for the OEC to receive all results.

How much does a background check cost?

The fee is $88.25 for child care workers, providers, and household members. The fee for volunteers is $86.25. We can only process your documents if you include a check or money order for the correct amount, made payable to “Treasurer, State of CT”. If you’re submitting more than one background check, please send individual payment for each person and include the person’s name on each check or money order to avoid delays.

TypeFee
Child care center staff$88.25
Family child care providers, staff, and household members$88.25
Child care center volunteers$86.25

Note that these fees go to the FBI ($13.25 or $11.25) and State Police ($75).  The State Police portion is then deposited into the State General Fund.

Get a background check

If you own a child care center or work for a child care provider, you need a background check. Here’s how to start a new background check:

  1. Get a fingerprint card packet. If you work at a child care center, you can get a fingerprint card and other required documents from your employer. If you’re starting a family child care center or are a center director, you can get cards from OEC by completing the fingerprint packet request form, emailing oecresults@ct.gov, or calling  (860) 500-4466.
  2. Get fingerprinted. Contact your local police department or State Police barracks to have your prints taken. You can also contact the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Fingerprinting Division at (860) 685-8270. Some offices may require an appointment. Keep in mind; some agencies may charge a fee to take your prints, which is separate from the DESPP and FBI background check processing fee. NEW!! DESPP has agreed to collect fingerprints on four Saturdays at 1111 Country Club Road, Middletown from 9 AM to 1 PM: April 27, May 4, 11 and 18.
  3. Fill out forms. In addition to your fingerprint card, you will also need to provide a signed DCF authorization form and a signed FBI privacy statement. Child care centers should follow these instructions to make sure you send the correct information. Instructions for family care providers can be found here
  4. Send them to us. Mail your fingerprint card, the 2 completed and signed forms, and a check or money order for the processing fee to:
    Office of Early Childhood, Legal Division
    450 Columbus Blvd. Suite 303
    Hartford, CT 06103
  5. Wait…. Once we get your documents and fee, we’ll send them to DESPP and DCF for processing the background check. This can take a few months.
  6. Get results. When we get your results from DESPP, FBI and DCF, we will send you a letter if you are not eligible to provide care because of a criminal or child abuse/neglect record. The letter will include instructions for you to appeal the finding, if you choose.  You are the only one who can receive details about your background check results.  We will send a separate letter to your employer saying that you are not eligible to provide care. Currently, you will not receive a notice if there are no disqualifying crimes and no DCF Registry match found on your record.

News and Updates

Last Saturday Fingerprinting at DESPP May 18th, 2019

April 18, 2019 – New Federal Background Check Requirements – due 9/30/19

There are important new federal requirements for background checks that affect most child care providers. This is the first in a series of updates to help providers meet these requirements.

What is New?

  1. Background checks are more comprehensive, meaning that additional registries are checked to learn criminal, sex offender and child abuse or neglect histories.
  2. License-exempt providers who receive Care 4 Kids funding must now get background checks through the OEC (except youth camps and unlicensed Care 4 Kids providers related to all children in care).
  3. All child care providers, staff members, volunteers, and household members must get a comprehensive background check every 5 years.

Child care providers must meet these requirements by September 30, 2019. We know that these expanded comprehensive background check requirements may be a lot of work for you. OEC is working to make this as easy as possible.

January 19, 2019 — Update on background check database
The CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has been working to establish a database for background checks, namely the Applicant Background Check Management System (ABCMS), to meet updated federal requirements, align with Connecticut state laws, and meet the needs of facilities regarding background checks for childcare providers. Internal testing revealed problems with the system, and the OEC has decided to discontinue use of ABCMS in favor of enhancing an existing OEC data system. We expect this system will be available to the community in Summer 2019. You can read more about this project here. Additional information will be provided in the coming months.

December 20, 2018 — Change in background check requirements
Recent laws have changed background check requirements for people who work with children. Individuals who work in child care facilities must now get a background check at least once every five years. You can read more about the phase in of these laws and background check portability here.

November 19, 2018 — Increased background check fees
The processing fees for background checks have increased. Effective January 1, 2019 the new fees (per person) are as follows:

TypeFee
Child care center staff$88.25
Family child care providers, staff, and household members$88.25
Child care center volunteers$86.25

Background check documents received by OEC after 12/15/18 must include payment at the rates above. We can only process documents that include a check or money order for the correct amount. To avoid delays, please make sure your payment is accurate. If you’re requesting more than one background check, please include separate payments for each background check. You can read more about these changes here.

October 10, 2018 — Update from OEC Legal Division
Please see here important updates regarding:
– Applicant Background Check Management System (ABCMS)
– Upcoming increase in background check fees
– Updated requirements for child care staff who have not completed fingerprint-based background checks

Contact

For questions, contact:

Office of Early Childhood Legal Division
450 Columbus Blvd. Suite 303
Hartford, CT 06103
oecresults@ct.gov
Phone: (860) 500-4466  
Fax: (860) 326-0555

For questions about your fingerprints, contact

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, CT  06457
Phone: (860) 685-8480
www.ct.gov/despp