Background Checks

Last updated August 23, 2019
The OEC electronic Roster was offline for much of Friday, 8.23, for upgrades.   Our goal is to have the system back online and all email invitations sent out by August 26.
If you believe that your facility does not have a current email address on file with OEC, or if your facility has not received any emails from in the previous 120 days, please email your name, facility name, director’s email address and phone number to: .
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The Office of Early Childhood announced in May that we will cover the processing fee for applications postmarked through September 30, 2019, or until all the funds are spent, whichever comes first.  Please see the News and Updates section below for that announcement in English and Spanish.

People who work in Connecticut 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 center 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.

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.

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.

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. State law allows a completed background check result to be sufficient for five years, regardless of any change in child care employers, unless the individual has a break in child care employment for 180 days or more within that five year period.

Unfortunately, background checks completed for any other reason cannot be used as OEC child care background checks, even if they were processed by the State Police at DESPP.

OEC has developed a new tool for providers to record an updated Roster of staff and volunteers affiliated with Centers and Group Child Care Homes.  This will allow OEC to research our database for any completed background check results and add them to the OEC Roster.  Employers will then have a complete set of  background check results for each person listed. Look for an email in August with instructions on how to access and use this Roster. Please complete it as soon as possible.

See a list of disqualifying crimes.

Learn more about background check privacy rights

Learn more about how criminal records are used

Why do my fingerprints have to be collected again if they don’t change?

There are several reasons:

  • New fingerprints give an updated impression.  Fingerprints that were collected five years ago may not show any permanent scars, burns or amputations that happened since.
  • The State Police Fingerprint Identification System can compare new and old prints, then use the best print for each finger to produce the best possible set of prints for identification and matching.
  • Sometimes people share the same name and date of birth, so fingerprints can be used to tell which record should be searched.
  • Sometimes people use another person’s name and date of birth to hide their identity or criminal record.  Checking against an earlier set of prints can identify this kind of fraud.
  • The requirement to provide new prints helps ensure that your fingerprints are matched against your personal history and not someone else’s.

How much does a background check cost?

The processing fee that OEC is covering until September 30, 2019 is $88.25 for child care workers, providers, and household members. The fee for volunteers is $86.25. Other than between now and September 30, 2019, 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.

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 are logged in at OEC, then 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.

How to 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, or calling  (860) 500-4466. If you leave a voicemail message, please speak slowly, spell important names and words, and tell us: (1) whether you are a center/group child care home OR family provider, (2) your name, (3) full address, and (4) how many fingerprint cards you need to last 4-6 months.
  2. Get fingerprinted. Fill out all of the information on the front and back of the fingerprint card. Then go to your local police department or State Police barracks to have your fingerprints taken. Some offices require an appointment or are only open at certain days and times.  Most agencies charge a fee to take your prints, which is separate from the DESPP and FBI background check processing fee.   You must bring a current, government-issued photo ID and payment for the collection fee. You can also contact the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Fingerprinting Division at (860) 685-8270
  3. Fill out forms. In addition to your completed fingerprint card, you will also need to provide a completed and 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 completed fingerprint card, the 2 completed and signed forms, and a check or money order for the processing fee (when required again, after September 30, 2019) to the OEC Legal Division.  Documents with missing information, or applications that do not include (1) the fingerprint card, (2) the completed DCF Authorization, (3) signed FBI Privacy Rights Act statement, and (4) payment for processing [after September 30, 2019] cannot be processed and will be returned to sender.  Here is the OEC mailing address:
         Office of Early Childhood, Legal Division
    450 Columbus Blvd. Suite 303
    Hartford, CT 06103                                  
  5. Wait…. Once we get your documents and processing fee, we record them in our database, then send them to DESPP and DCF for processing your background check. This can take about a month.  Sometimes fingerprint cards are rejected by the State Police or FBI.  This means that the marks made by your fingerprints on the card do not allow them to confirm your identity, and use this to check the required registries. When this happens, you will receive a letter from OEC listing the reason for rejection provided by DESPP and asking for a new set of fingerprints.  Please repeat Step 2 above, and send your fingerprints to OEC within 30 days.  Do not include a second processing fee, since you will have a credit from the first application. There is no need to send new DCF or FBI forms unless more than six months have passed.
  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, sex offender, 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, but cannot include any details. Currently, you will not receive any notice if there are no disqualifying crimes and no DCF Registry match found on your record.

How long does a background check take?

Once OEC receives your fingerprints, documents, and the required processing payment, we record them in our databases.  The fingerprint cards go to the state police at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) for matching against state and national criminal registries. Information is sent to the Department of Children and Families(DCF) to match with the Connecticut child abuse or neglect registry.  It takes about a month for all of the registry matching to be completed and for OEC to receive all results.

OEC and DESPP have collaborated to reduce those delays, and on average we now receive CT and national background check results in less than two weeks from the time fingerprints are accepted.

Can staff provide care while we wait for their background check results?

Current State law (CGS section 19a-80(c)) requires that prospective employees of licensed child care centers and group child care homes have no unsupervised contact with children until the OEC confirms that they have completed a comprehensive background check and they are eligible to work in child care.  However, this requirement has not yet been fully implemented as the OEC recognizes that child care programs are not yet able to verify that a background check has been completed.

The OEC has been contacting all licensed child care centers and those that receive Care 4 Kids subsidy to provide access to a staff roster application (electronic “app”).  This will be the first step in the process to give child care providers the status of their employees’ background checks.  More information about OEC’s new Background Check Information System (BCIS) and the enforcement of background check requirements will be shared with child care providers prior to September 30, 2019.

Interstate Background Checks

People who provide child care in Connecticut and lived in another state during the past five years will have registries checked in Connecticut as well as the other state(s) where they used to live.

People who lived in Connecticut within the past five years and now provide child care in another state will need to check the Connecticut DCF, sex offender and criminal registries for their new background check.

  • For child protective services registry requests:  Use form DCF-3031 (Child Protective Services Background Check for Employment)   Department of Children & Families Background Checks Unit
  • For criminal registry requests: Use form DSP-0846-C  State Police Bureau of Identification
  • You may search the CT Dept. of Emergency Services & Public Protection sex offender registry directly using the person’s name.

News and Updates

August 8, 2019  OEC Roster is ready to launch

The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has finalized the OEC Roster and will begin sending out emailed invitations to agencies whose staff and volunteers are required to complete background checks through the OEC. Some providers will receive their emailed invitation sooner than others to avoid overloading the system.  Once you receive your agency’s email invitation, please follow the instructions to Register, then update the list of staff and volunteers and enter their demographic information plus addresses for at least the past five years. Once completed, OEC will research its records and report the background check status and date by which each person listed will need a new background check.

July 11, 2019  OEC Roster is CLOSE to launch & Criminal Results Are Coming Faster

 The OEC Staff Roster email invitations have not gone out yet. OEC’s IT developers and Legal staff are working hard to prepare this electronic “app” system so it does what we all need it to do. We are very close to being ready for launch.

The CT Office of Early Childhood is pleased to announce that CT and national criminal background check results are being received from DESPP in less than three weeks from the time fingerprints are accepted. This is a tremendous improvement over the highest average delay of four months back in May, 2018, and was achieved through collaboration between OEC and DESPP.

May 22, 2019 OEC to Cover Background Check Processing Fees

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:

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


For questions, contact:

Office of Early Childhood 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