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Background Checks

Last updated February 15, 2019

Individuals who work in child care facilities must complete a background check at least once every five years. The process can take 3-4 months and costs $88.25 for employees and $86.25 for volunteers.

Who needs a background check?

If you work with children in a child care facility, you’ll likely need to get a background check. 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.

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 in the last five years, you may already have a valid child care background check on file. You can send a status inquiry to find out.  Background checks completed for any other reason cannot be used as child care background checks.

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 works with 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, 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 we receive your documents and the fee, we’ll send them out for processing by the state police at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the FBI, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). It can take 3-4 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 background check 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

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. If you work at a child care center, you can get a fingerprint card 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 card 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.
  3. Fill out forms. In addition to your fingerprint card, you will also need to provide a signed 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, 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 3-4 months.
  6. Get results. When we get your results from DESPP, FBI and DCF, we will send you a letter if you are ineligible 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 or DCF Registry match found on your record.

Get fingerprint cards

You’ll need to get a fingerprint card before you can get a background check. If you work at a child care center, you can get a fingerprint card from your employer. Family child care homes and new child care centers can get cards from us. To request fingerprint cards, please complete this form. You can also email us at oecresults@ct.gov or call (860) 500-4466.

Background check inquiry

You may not need a new background check if you have started working in a Connecticut child care facility within the last five years, or if you have had a child care background check recently.  You can submit an inquiry to learn whether you (or your employee) needs  a new background check.

To submit an inquiry, print and fill out this form. You can mail, fax, or email it back to us at:

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

Once we get your form, we’ll check our database for the  individuals you listed. We’ll send you a letter with the child care background check completion dates for everyone you listed on the form. Please keep in mind that response times may vary, but we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

News and updates

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.

Contact

For questions, contact:

Office of Early Childhood                oecresults@ct.gov
Legal Division

450 Columbus Blvd. Suite 303
Hartford, CT 06103
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