Ensuring the Safety of Children
This month, weâ€™re focusing on one of those topics that is incredibly important to ensure the safety of children in your program or home. The adequate screening of employees who work in a program with young children provides not only a protection for the children whom you serve but also provides a legal protection for you if thereâ€™s a problem with an employee.
With the beginning of a new school year, many programs have welcomed new staff. New staff (and existing staff) should be subject to preliminary and on-going screening and your policies and procedures should include the parameters under which these screens/checks are conducted.
All employees, volunteers and, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all members over age 10 living in a family child care home should be subject to a comprehensive background check. That includes:
â€¢ Classroom teachers/administrators/aides
â€¢ Substitutes/regular volunteers
â€¢ Clerical staff
â€¢ Transportation staff/bus drivers
â€¦anyone who will be on the premises or in vehicles when children are present.
Child Care Aware recommends that comprehensive background checks be conducted and provides a list of the items which should be included.
Federal fingerprint check
State fingerprint check
Criminal record check
Child abuse registries check
Sex offender registries check
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia require that background checks be conducted; however, not all states require comprehensive checks. Click here to see what each SECA state requires for centers. Click here to see what each SECA state requires for family day care homes.
Youâ€™ll need to check with your state licensing agency to determine how often checks must be conductedâ€¦..this information is included in your stateâ€™s licensing regulations.
For a copy of the Background Screening Standard (Standard 18.104.22.168) from Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs that was featured as Standard of the Month, November 2012, click here.
Parents expect their children to be safe in your program. You donâ€™t want anyone who has a history of violence, abuse, or neglect working with children.
You and the background screening process are the first line of defense to ensure childrenâ€™s safety. Donâ€™t neglect that responsibility!
Standard of the Month, November 2012, http://www.healthychildcare.org/standardofthemonth.html
Background Screenings, Child Care Aware, http://childcareaware.org/child-care-providers/management-plan/background-screenings