Background Checks

Last updated July 11, 2019
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.

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

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.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. 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 is developing a new site 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 Roster.  You will then have a complete set of  background check results for each person listed. Look for an email in July with instructions on how to access and use this Roster. Please complete it as soon as possible.

OEC Legal staff will respond to inquiries from Family child care providers regarding their staff and household members until the Family Provider Roster is available.

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.

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 the required processing payment, we’ll log them into 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 can take a couple of months 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 three weeks from the time fingerprints are accepted.

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.

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. 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 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 one or two months.  Sometimes fingerprint cards are rejected by the State Police or FBI.  This means that the quality of your fingerprints does 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.  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 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 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.

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 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 by name

News and Updates

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 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