Background Checks

Last updated January 13, 2020

People who work or live in Connecticut child care facilities and licensed homes need to complete a comprehensive background check at least once every five years.

Background checks play an essential role in ensuring that children are safe in child care facilities. Our background checks team works with providers, staff, and families to make the process as simple and easy as possible.

To get a background check, you need to do four things:

1. Request a fingerprint card and have your fingerprints taken 

2. Fill out a DCF Authorization Form
DCF Authorization Form (English)
DCF Authorization Form (Spanish)

3. Fill out an FBI Privacy Rights Act Statement
FBI Privacy Rights Act Statement (English)
FBI Privacy Rights Act Statement (Spanish)

4. Submit the card, forms, and payment to the Office of Early Childhood (OEC)

Learn more about getting a background check.

Who needs a background check?

Child care programs are required to submit background checks if they are:

  • Licensed child care facilities
  • License-exempt child care facilities (like those run by schools or towns) that receive funding from Care 4 Kids
  • Youth camps that get funding from Care 4 Kids

People who need a background check at least every five years include:

  • Connecticut child care staff members, including employees and volunteers age 16 and older who care for children or have unsupervised access to children
  • Family child care home providers, assistants, or substitutes
  • Household members age 16 or older who live in a licensed family child care home

Child care providers that do not need to submit OEC background checks include:

  • Unlicensed providers who are related to all of the children in their care
  • People who work with children on site, but aren’t employed by or volunteering for that program. Examples include:
    • A private nurse hired by a family for their child
    • A therapist working with specific children who is employed by a school district or Birth to Three agency

Why do I need a background check?

It’s all about safety. Children thrive when they are cared for by people they trust in a secure, safe environment. That’s why OEC completes comprehensive background checks on people who provide direct unsupervised care to children in Connecticut (as well as household members age 16 and older in family child care homes).

We make sure that they do not have a history of criminal or sexual offenses, child abuse, or neglect that make them unsuited to provide care.

When do I need to get a background check?

If you already had a background check through OEC, you will need to get another at least every five years.

If you haven’t had a background check through OEC before, keep these things in mind:

  • You’ll need to get an OEC background check as soon as you receive an offer of employment.
  • If you aren’t a licensed child care provider yet, you need to start the licensing process before you can get a background check. To learn more about getting licensed, visit our licensing page or call the Licensing Help Desk at 860-500-4450.

Family child care homes have special requirements

If you provide care to children in your own home, we don’t only need background checks on you, your staff, and any volunteers. We also need background checks on everyone living in your home age 16 and older — including your own family. Keep in mind:

• Household members will need to get a new background check every five years

• When someone age 16 or older moves into your home, they need to get a background check

• As soon as your child (or another household member) turns age 16, they need to get a background check

Conducting background checks on household members is essential. It’s a way to make sure that family child care homes are safe, healthy environments.

What happens during a background check?

You can learn about the steps you need to follow on our Get a Background Check page. Once we get your submission (including paperwork, fingerprint card, and payment), your information gets checked in a number of registries to look for:

  • Criminal convictions for specific disqualifying crimes (learn more about disqualifying crimes)
  • Any listing in the Child Abuse or Neglect Registry
  • Any listing on state or national sex offender registries

Your records will be reviewed in every state or territory where you’ve lived during the past five years — as well as Connecticut, even if you never lived here.

To check these registries, we work with the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the FBI. 

How long do background check results take?

The exact timing varies. Once we receive the completed and signed forms and processing fee, and DESPP evaluates and accepts the fingerprints, we usually get results back within four weeks. Keep in mind that your background check results can be delayed if your form is incomplete or unsigned, you didn’t include payment, or your fingerprints are rejected because they weren’t clear. Learn more about getting your results and problems with fingerprints.

Ready to get started? Learn how to get a background check.

Have other questions about background checks? Take a look at our Questions and Answers page.