The Office of Early Childhood will continue to pay the background check processing fees for applications postmarked or digitally submitted through April 1, 2021. Anyone required to complete a new or renewal background check within one year (before March 30, 2022) may do so by April 1, 2021 without paying the processing fee.
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.
Who needs a background check?
Child care programs are required to submit background checks if they are:
- Licensed child care facilities and group child care homes
- Licensed family child care homes
- License-exempt child care facilities (like those run by schools or towns) that receive funding from Care 4 Kids
- Youth camps that receive funding from Care 4 Kids
People who need a background check at least every five years include:
- 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, and substitutes
- Everyone age 16 or older who lives 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 (but are not limited to):
- 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 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 could make them unsuited to provide care.
How do I get a background check?
You can now complete the process digitally. You just need to:
Your information is securely transmitted to OEC, with no need for printing, envelopes, or postage. Going paperless will save you time, lower your business costs, and greatly improve the acceptance rate for fingerprints.
Can my staff and I have fingerprints taken at our child care center?
Yes — OEC is partnering with 211 Child Care to bring digital fingerprinting sessions right to your center, anywhere in Connecticut. Here’s how it works:
- You provide a separate room away from children and staff
- Your staff get priority booking, ahead of other local child care providers that would also be permitted to book an appointment for the session at your program
- 211 Child Care brings PPE, sanitizing materials, and all digital fingerprinting equipment to your Center.
To get more information or schedule a session on-site, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When do I need to get a background check?
If you already had a background check through OEC, great! You will need to get another one at least every 5 years if you continue to provide child care.
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, email email@example.com, visit our licensing page, or call the Licensing Help Desk at .
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 forms, fingerprints, 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 Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
How long do background check results take?
The exact timing varies. Once we receive both completed forms and the processing fee (after April 1, 2021), and DESPP evaluates and accepts the fingerprints, we usually get results back within 4 weeks. Keep in mind that your background check results will be delayed if your forms are 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.