Discussing Delays with Background Checks

Last month we sent members an article on the challenges of getting background checks on new hires returned in a timely manner. Several of you responded and we’d like to continue the conversation here. If you missed the article you can view it here.

Just a few thoughts from your fellow colleagues are below. Read them and then let us know your thoughts or suggestions!

As a person with a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana it does not preclude me from working. I am up front about my possession and it has prevented me from getting some jobs especially those of a corporation. Which is fine for me. But like I said I am up front so there are no surprises. It’s a shame though something I did when I was 19 cannot be forgiven now that I am 57. Theresa, VA

Everybody with a record is not guilty and the only reason an expungement or pardon has not been issued is because no one will allow them the opportunity to make money.  Some people I know have a misdemeanor dating back 7 years ago and no other occurrences with the law, but cannot work!  There are some people who have committed serious crimes but had them expunged that are working with our children.  I feel that background checks should only go back 5 years if there is criminal activity in that period of time then the person should not be hired. Nico, SC

I have been in the child care field for over 30 years.  In all that time I have never dealt with a problem due to this issue; but I can see how centers, desperate for workers, could run into problems.  Centers should not be allowed to leave a worker who does not have the background check completed and returned alone at any time.  Ever, with no exceptions.  That is the policy of the school where I am currently employed.  It can make staffing challenging, but the risks should not be taken.
Maybe the laws should be changed to reflect this. Jennifer, VA

It has not affected me personally. My daughter had to pay for her SLED check before she was issued a teacher’s license in South Carolina. Maybe childcare workers need to be licensed also.
Minimum requirements should include this crucial check for everyone who we trust our children to. Becky, SC

I own a daycare in Louisiana and this has never been an issue for me. Actually in LA, a daycare employee must have a satisfactory background check on file before they can start work in the center in any department. Before someone can be hired at my center they must first complete a Central State Registry Form (CSR) stating that they have not been convicted or registered as a sex offender. (I have to know this before I even hand them an application because if they answer yes, then I won’t waste my time with an application.) Once that has been established then they must complete a criminal background check through the LA Sheriffs Association, which can take between 3 days to a month for processing. At my center the background check must come back clean. If there is a rap sheet attached with something as little as an arrest for simple battery, I still submit it to Childcare Licensing for approval. Then and only then, with a clear background or approval from licensing will I continue with the application process.

The children in my center are just like my very own and I will go over and beyond to provide the best for them no matter what. For those concerned about being short staff or out of ratio, I’d rather turn a child or two around if I’m short than to hire a criminal to work with my children. I’ve done if before and that’s why I get so much respect and trust from my parents and it is also why my business is so successful. Some centers only focus is not losing a dollar so they hire anyone to keep from losing kids… well that’s when your problems start. I’ve been in business now for 3 years and I’m all about the best for the children and not what’s best for my pocket.

However I believe they should check with the LA Sheriff Association to get information on their Criminal background process and I personally recommend not hiring anyone until you receive their background check. Swanzetta, LA

I viewed the video – and as a center director, I’ve got to say that I believe that most centers work as hard as they can with all the regulations put on us.  I seriously doubt that the parents want to pay a lot more per week in fees so that I can employ an extra staff member just in case I find myself shorthanded.  I’m not advocating irresponsibility however, what would that parent actually propose to help? Simply tightening the regulations isn’t the answer.  Child care is not a lucrative business in the first place.  Most of us cannot hire extra staff “just in case” someone quits.

In a nutshell, somehow the process of the background check has to be sped up or perhaps accept a state background check while waiting for the national check.  I don’t believe any child care center wants to hire the wrong person, but the resources we rely on need to be a bit faster, otherwise it is so very difficult to always comply. Ruth, VA

2 thoughts on “Discussing Delays with Background Checks

  1. in GA, we send employees to the local police department for a Code W criminal record check. This allows them to work in a child care center for 21 days. By then, the criminal record check has been processed and cleared. We’ve not had any issues with this 2-step process.

  2. States decide which misdemeanors are not allowed for child care teachers. Most states determine which charges deal with hurting others verses those that have not caused harm. If hurting others was involved, then the person is not allowed to work in the early education field. Each state also has a system to have charges expunged and records cleared. Check with the agency responsible for making the determination for this information. Our greatest responsibility is to protect children.

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