Questions and Answers

Here’s a rundown of answers to questions that providers, staff, and others have asked about background checks.

Why were my fingerprints rejected?

The State Police or FBI sometimes reject a person’s fingerprints, usually because the prints weren’t clear. We will send you a notice that your fingerprints were rejected and include information about what to do next.

What happens if I have a criminal or DCF record?

Remember that not all crimes affect your eligibility to provide care to children. But if the background check turns up a problem — like a history of disqualifying crimes or a record of child abuse or neglect — you will need to send us more information within 30 days.

We will review all of your information and make a final decision about whether you are eligible to work as a child care provider, or not.

Throughout this process, you are the only person who will receive details about your results. We will not share specific results with your employer, but we will let them know that we’re conducting a review and have asked you for more information.

Follow-up background checks

I already got a background check in the last five years.  Do I need another?

That depends. Even if you switched child care jobs, your previous background check will still be valid as long as you:

  • Got it through OEC within the last five years
  • Needed it because you were working in an OEC-licensed child care facility or home — or a license-exempt facility that receives Care 4 Kids funds — and worked in child care since that background check without a break in employment of 180 days or more (that is, 180 days when you were not working in child care)

However, if you got your background check for any reason besides providing child care — even if it was processed by the State Police at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) — it doesn’t count. You will need to get a new one through OEC.

Why do my fingerprints have to be collected again?

We need updated fingerprints as part of your routine background check at least every five years. There are several reasons:

  • Your old fingerprints may no longer be accurate (for example, people sometimes get burns or scars that affect their fingerprints)
  • The State Police Fingerprint Identification System needs to be able to compare new and old prints so it can use the best print for each finger — that’s the only way to produce the most accurate overall set
  • Up-to-date fingerprints help us prevent fraud and make sure your personal data is matched to the right prints and not someone else’s (even if you share the same name and birth date)


Where does my background check fee go?

Fingerprint processing fees are split between the FBI ($13.25 or $11.25) and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection ($75). The DESPP portion is deposited into the State General Fund.

Keep in mind that OEC is paying the background check processing fees for applications submitted by July 1, 2023.

Interstate issues

Federal law requires that background checks are completed in every state or territory where a child care provider has lived within the last 5 years. If you lived or provided care in another state within the last 5 years, please see our page on out-of-state background checks.

For employers

Can new staff start work while they wait for background check results?

Effective October 1, 2021, each prospective employee being newly hired in a licensed child care center or group child care home must have clearance of the criminal portion of their background check confirmed by OEC before they may begin work in a position involving the care of or access to children.  

The OEC Background Check Information System (BCIS) is the way to confirm this information. A new  status has been added to BCIS as of October 1st. The “work supervised” status confirms that the prospective employee has cleared a state or national criminal background check and may begin work supervised by staff with a current background check until the new employee’s status changes to “current” when all other components of their background check have been completed.  

Last updated March 10, 2022