Federal Law Enhances Criminal Background Requirements for North Dakota Licensed and Regulated Child Care Providers


On Oct. 1, the North Dakota Department of Human Services will implement two additional federal requirements for criminal background checks of North Dakota licensed and regulated child care providers. The changes are the result of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, which directed states to implement additional criminal background check requirements to ensure the protection and safety of children in licensed and regulated child care.

The first change requires all child care staff, regardless of position or age, to complete a comprehensive fingerprint-based background check. This includes volunteers who may have unsupervised access to children.

The second requirement impacting providers is that new staff members cannot begin work until the department receives and reviews their in-state Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) or their national Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records. New staff can begin working under direct supervision if their record shows no convictions that would disqualify them from working with children. A new staff member can begin full unrestricted employment only after their entire background check is complete, which may include receiving records from each state he or she has lived in during the past five years.

“We anticipate there may be some child care providers that will be concerned about their ability to address staff turnover quickly and efficiently,” said Tara Reed, of the department’s Children and Family Services Division. “We have been proactive in implementing the new federal requirements in stages over the past three years. We also have created efficiencies like transitioning to electronic records to help minimize the impact on providers and families.”

The background check process is very detailed. Applicants need to make sure they complete all the required information on their application to avoid delays in processing their background checks.