Thousands seek child care background checks under new law

Oklahoma City_In the three months since the mandated child care employment background check law became effective, nearly 4,100 requests have been processed by Oklahoma Department of Human Services' Oklahoma Child Care Services division.

With the law becoming effective Nov. 1, 2008, the newly formed OCCS Licensing Records Office (LRO) reviewed 4,091 requests for background checks for individuals seeking employment or licensure in Oklahoma's nearly 5,000 child care facilities. In the 4,091 reviews, 93 applicants did not meet state requirements to work in a child care facility or to be issued a license because of persons living in a home where care would potentially be provided.

Child care facilities must submit an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation criminal background check, along with other documentation for review. The LRO conducts additional searches and returns the results of the reviews to the facilities for appropriate actions. The law stipulates a child care provider must receive the response prior to employing a person or allowing a person to reside in the residential facility where care is provided.

With more than 25,000 people employed in Oklahoma's Child Care industry, the demand for the requirement has been difficult for the LRO to meet. In addition to those seeking employment or licensure, all adults who reside in a child care home are required to submit a request for a background check.

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