New Child Care Laws Frequently Asked Questions
HEA 1494 national criminal history checks
Q: Who has to get a national criminal history check?
A: This law applies to all regulated child care providers including licensed centers, licensed homes, unlicensed registered ministries, unlicensed homes receiving Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) payments and unlicensed centers receiving CCDF payments.
For each provider type the applicant, all child care employees and volunteers, and household members that are at least 18 years old (for licensed child care homes and unlicensed child care homes receiving CCDF only) are required to get a national criminal history check (fingerprint check).
Note: The law defines “volunteer” as anyone who does unpaid work in your child care program for 8 or more hours each month. If you have either employees or volunteers that are under the age of 18, these individuals must have a Juvenile Criminal History Check completed by following the instructions online at: http://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/4182.htm
Individuals who are present in the child care program less than 8 hours a month are considered “guests”. Guests are not to be left alone with children and they are not counted within the staff to child ratios.
All cooks, janitors, and similar employees of the child care program must be fingerprinted because they are staff members with access to children.
Q: My child care program is within a larger agency- for example within a school, a church, a Community Action Program or a YMCA. Do all of the employees of the larger agency also have to get these fingerprint checks?
A: No. When determining if other volunteers and employees of larger agencies need to have criminal background checks for your child care program you will need to consider the role that the individual plays:
- Does this person provide care for the children; are they counted in your staff to child ratios or left alone with children? If yes, the individual must have a background check.
- Does the individual volunteer within the child care program more than eight hours per month? Yes, this individual must have a background check.
- Is this person the applicant on your child care registration, application, or license? If yes, this person must have a background check.
If you have any questions about specific circumstances or individuals within your larger agency please contact your licensing consultant, registration consultant, or CCDF inspector as needed. They know your program best and can help you determine which individuals are required to have a check.
Q: How often do these checks have to be completed?
A: These checks must be completed every three years as well as upon hire.
Q: I had a fingerprint national background check completed for BCC last year. Do I need to repeat this check again this year?
A: No. If you have been fingerprinted through L1 for a national background check within the last three years and the results have been sent to BCC, you do not need to be re-fingerprinted until the end of that three year period unless you begin to work at another child care program.
Q: My fingerprints have not changed? Why do I have to get new scans completed every three years?
A: Your scanned fingerprints are not saved by any agency or the vendor. The only fingerprints that are retained in the FBI database are those with criminal histories.
Q: Can I get a copy of the results of the fingerprinting?
A: Only the individual who has been fingerprinted can access the results.
Q: How will I know that BCC has received the results of the criminal history check? How do I document that my staff has been fingerprinted?
A: When you register with L1 be sure to select Family and Social Services Administration as the agency to receive your results. This will ensure that the results come to BCC. Once the fingerprint scan has been completed, L1 will give you a receipt showing that the process has been completed. Keep this receipt as your documentation of compliance.
Q: How will I know if new hires have passed the criminal history checks? How long should I wait to before new staff begin working?
A: Once an individual has been fingerprinted conducting the national criminal history check is a quick process. Individuals can begin working as soon as:
- A completed consent form has been submitted to BCC and
- The potential employee’s fingerprints have been received by L1.
BCC will notify providers in the event that a record comes back with a hit that prohibits an individual from working in child care.
Q: What if I have already been fingerprinted for another purpose or through another organization- can I use this check to meet the requirements of new laws?
A: Those individuals who are required to have a national fingerprint background check must be fingerprinted through the approved vendor (L1), the fingerprints must be used to conduct a check of the national FBI database and the results must be sent by the Indiana State Police to the Bureau of Child Care. There are other vendors that conduct national background checks; however, most often these are either checks based only on a name (not fingerprints) and/or the checks have not been run through the national FBI database.
If you have recently been fingerprinted for a national background check for another purpose (such as your organization requires a background check), we will not be able to accept these past checks. However, in the future, we recommend that you speak to your other organization about alternatives. For example, as the individual on whom the search was conducted, you may request the results of your check and can choose to share this copy with your organization. BCC cannot release the results of the checks to any organization or individual, but each individual has a right to request a copy of his or her own results. Instructions for requesting the results of a check are posted online at http://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/4182.htm.
Q: Does an arrest or charge of a prohibitive crime disqualify me from working within child care?
A: No, only a conviction of a prohibitive crime can disqualify an individual.
Q: The law takes effect July 1. Do I have to have checks completed on all of my current staff and volunteers by this time?
A: No. The law gives BCC and current child care providers until July 1, 2014 to come into compliance with this new requirement, but we are asking current child care providers to have national criminal history checks completed by their next inspection visit for the following reasons:
- Cost. Your costs may be duplicated if you pay for a limited criminal history check in order to be in compliance for an upcoming inspection as you will also have to complete the national criminal history check by next July.
- Capacity. If all providers wait until the last minute to get their checks, L1 may not be able to support the demand. This could result in being out of compliance after July 1, 2014.
- For licensed child care homes and unlicensed providers taking CCDF: As of June 30, 2013, BCC will no longer conduct limited history checks for you.
Q: If I hire a new employee after July 1, 2013, do they have to have national criminal background checks?
A: Yes, individuals who begin working or volunteering on or after July 1, 2013 must have the national background check completed.
Q: I am planning on becoming a regulated child care provider, but will not submit my application until after July 1. Do I need to complete national fingerprint checks on my staff and volunteers?
A: Yes, any application for licensure, registration or CCDF eligibility received after July 1, 2013 must be in compliance with this law.
SEA 305 Additional CCDF minimum eligibility standards - For unlicensed providers, including registered ministries that are receiving CCDF payments
Q: I am a licensed home or licensed center provider, do these new CCDF eligibility standards apply to me?
A: No, the changes to the provider eligibility standards (IC12-17.2-3.5) apply to unlicensed providers who are receiving CCDF. Licensed providers are eligible to receive CCDF because they are licensed and already meeting these health and safety standards.
Q: I am planning on becoming a CCDF provider but I have not yet submitted my application? When do I have to complete all of the new requirements?
A: Any application for CCDF eligibility received on or after July 1 must be in compliance with the new laws.
Safe sleep training and safe sleep practices
Q: My child care program doesn’t care for children younger than 12 months. Does the director or applicant still need to complete safe sleep training?
A: No, safe sleep training is only required if the child care program cares for children less than 12 months of age.
Q: How do I find a division approved Safe Sleep training?
A: Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency. To see a map of these agencies, click here.
Q: I am an unlicensed provider that receives CCDF payments and I am required to complete Safe Sleep training under the new laws. I completed the division-approved Safe Sleep training several years ago and I have the required documentation. Do I need to take this training again?
A: No. If you have the documentation showing that a division-approved Safe Sleep training was completed, you will not have to repeat the training. The training is a one-time requirement. However, Safe Sleep practices have changed. You are responsible for ensuring that Safe Sleep practices are being followed for children under 12 months of age at all times in your child care program. There is a free online refresher course available that is highly recommended to ensure up-to-date Safe Sleep practices are being used in your program. This refresher training is not required, only recommended. It is called Refresher Workshop for Safe Sleep Practices and can be taken through I-LEAD.
Q: Does the Director have to complete Safe Sleep training if another staff member has already received the training?
A: Yes, the director or applicant is required to complete division-approved Safe Sleep training. Directors are responsible for ensuring that Safe Sleep practices are followed at all times, so it is essential that this person receive the training. It is recommended, but not required, that all infant caregivers also complete this free training. This will help to ensure that Safe Sleep practices are being followed as required.
Q: If I take the Refresher Workshop for Safe Sleep, will it count toward the requirement for Safe Sleep training under the new law?
A: No. This is only a refresher training and does not qualify to meet this requirement.
Written discipline policy
Q: My child care program doesn’t currently have a written discipline policy. I don’t know where to start. Where can I find information on appropriate and effective discipline?
A: Contact your local child care resource and referral agency and ask for available trainings on the topic. Click here for a sample discipline plan.
Q: Our parent handbook includes our discipline policy and transportation policies and permission slip. If parents sign a statement indicating that they have read and agreed to our Parent Handbook, will that signed statement be sufficient for documentation of a signed discipline policy and a signed transportation policy?
A: Yes, if your parent handbook contains the required policies. A copy of the handbook must be kept on site and made available to your inspector. A signed copy of the parent statement must be kept in the child’s folder. The parent statement should specifically state that the parent has read and agrees to both the discipline policy and that the parent agrees to allow the provider to transport his/her children as stated in the handbook (if applicable).
Child abuse detection and prevention training
Q: Does the applicant on the child care registration, application or license have to complete child abuse detection and prevention training?
A: Yes. The applicant must have this training because he or she is legally responsible for all aspects of the operation of the child care program.
Q: Who has to complete the child abuse prevention and detection training?
A: All providers, staff and volunteers must complete this training.
Q: Does the child abuse prevention and detection training have to be completed by July 1?
A: The new laws go into effect on July 1, 2013. You must be compliant by your next inspection visit.
Q: How can I find this training on child abuse prevention and detection?
A: Click here to see some options for receiving Child Abuse Detection and Prevention training. We also recommend you call your local child care resource and referral agency for assistance.
Q: What should be included in the orientation to my child care program?
A: Click here for a sample orientation.
Q: Does orientation have to be documented for my current employees?
A: Yes, orientation must be documented for all current employees and volunteers as well as for all new employees and volunteers prior to beginning work or volunteer activities.
Q: I am an unlicensed provider that receives CCDF. I transport school age children, but not the younger children. Do I need a signed permission slip from the parents/guardians of the children I will not be transporting?
A: No. You will not need a permission slip from the families of children that you will not be transporting; however, your transportation policy must clearly state which children you will be transporting and which children you will not be transporting. Any children that may be transported must have a signed permission slip on file. For a copy of the transportation form for unlicensed CCDF facilities, click here. For a copy of the transportation form for unlicensed CCDF homes, click here.