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Virginia Child Care Background Checks

There are nearly 390,000 children under age 6 in Virginia whose parents are working. National polling shows that parents are concerned about the safety of their children as well as the quality and cost of child care.

There are 45,752 children under age 6 whose parents are active duty military; 6,055 children under age 6 whose parents are in the Guard or Reserve. If these parents are lucky enough to find on-base care, the military requires a background check using fingerprints. But, if they use off-base care, the background check is only as good as the state requires. In Virginia, that’s just a name check.

Safety starts with a background check for child care providers to ensure that children are not in the care of someone with a violent history.

Current Law in Virginia: Currently, child care providers are required to have a background check, however, such checks are not based on fingerprints. In April of 2015, the VA State Legislature approved a new law to improve the safety of children in child care. As part of the new law, beginning in July of 2017, all licensed child care providers (and unlicensed non-relative providers who care for children receiving a subsidy) will be required to have a fingerprint-based background check.

  • No one with a history of violent criminal offenses should be in the business of caring for children.
  • The background check screening also applies to volunteers in licensed programs.
Background Check Progress
in Virginia Legislature
Grace Reef, Early Learning Policy Group with Elly Lafkin and baby Caliann
Governor McAuliffe, Senator Hanger, Senator Reeves, and parents Elly and Cameron Lafkin, Jaci and Matt Allen and Michelle Bullock who advocated for passage of the new law.
Sharon Veatch, Executive Director, Child Care Aware of Virginia, Delegate Rich Anderson, Elly Lafkin, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, Grace Reef, and Karen Lange.

Making sure there is no background check loophole: The new law does not apply to religious license-exempt providers and voluntarily registered providers who do not serve low income children whose care is paid for with a subsidy. All children should be safe. Efforts will be made in 2016 to fix the law to ensure that there is one uniform background check system for child care providers in Virginia.

Today's Technology: As technology has evolved, the FBI and many states have moved toward a system using livescan, a digital fingerprinting process. It's more accurate (no errors based on inkprints) and clearance reports can be processed in 24-48 hours.