When Better Background Checks are Needed: Checking Childcare Workers in Sioux Falls, SD

Should a daycare provider receive a background check before being licensed? A question like this, with teachers and other caretakers with criminal histories in question, shouldn’t even be brought up. But apparently in Sioux City, SD, the city doesn’t have enough funds to do background checks on every licensed daycare center and, as a result, those with criminal histories end up taking care of young children. After reading the article in the link above, the system of checking daycare workers is severely inadequate. Some points are:

• Only checking a sex offender registry and for child abuse charges. However, felons and other types of criminals, particularly those mentioned in the article, have drug convictions. Should former drug dealers be working with young children?
• The background checks done on the workers don’t check for out-of-state convictions. This, above all aspects of checking criminal history, has been a significant issue across all positions working with children. Checking fingerprints with a national criminal database aside, checking out-of-state convictions simply involves looking up records for every location a daycare worker has lived in over a seven to ten year period.
• While the daycare must re-register every year, workers for these daycare centers are only checked for felony charges every three years.

As you can see, these three significant errors make having a child watched by a former criminal more of a possibility. From past posts, such as the one about Big Brothers, Big Sisters indicates that a thorough investigation of every candidate needs to be done. Whether it’s making sure a former drug dealer or a sex offender isn’t near young children, Sioux City needs to invest more money in or find a better solution for checking registered daycare centers and their employees.