Indiana Child Care: Background Checks

April 24th, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate

On March 18, 2020, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1264 to amend language in the Indiana Code (the “Requirements”) pertaining to licensing for childcare providers and ministries. Previously, specified background screening obligations were mandatory for employees and volunteers “who [have] direct contact with a child who is receiving childcare”. Effective July 1, 2020, the Requirements are expanded to cover employees and volunteers who “may be on the premises of the facility where the provider operates a childcare program during operating hours of the childcare program”. As a result, providers and ministries may be required to apply the specified screening practices to more individuals than they did previously.

Summary of the Requirements with the Amended Language

In order to be eligible for licensure and to receive voucher payments, a childcare provider or ministry must submit fingerprints for a national criminal history check to be conducted by the FBI. Employees, volunteers, and any who will be present on the premises of the childcare center or location during operating hours, are similarly required to submit fingerprints, and must apply for the national criminal history check every 3 years thereafter. If the provider operates from their home, these requirements also apply to their spouse, any adult who resides in their home, and any juvenile who resides in their home who has been waived to adult court.

The Requirements specify the following causes for ineligibility for a provider or ministry to obtain or maintain licensure or voucher payments:

  • Felony convictions related to health or safety of a child, sex offenses, dangerous felonies, and any other felonies less than 10 years since discharge from imprisonment, parole, or probation, whichever date is latest
  • Misdemeanor convictions related to health or safety of a child, welfare fraud, or operating a childcare center without a license
  • Allowing individuals convicted of any of the relevant felonies or misdemeanors to reside in their home, if the center is operated from within the provider’s home
  • Employing or allowing volunteers or any other individuals on the premises during operating hours if they were convicted of any of the relevant felonies or misdemeanors, or had their eligibility otherwise revoked in the preceding 2 years.

Providers and ministries must also maintain a written policy requiring individuals to report to them any convictions, which the provider must in turn report to the Division of Family Resources, in addition to any police investigations or arrests they are aware of.

Additional Indiana Background Checks

Childcare providers and ministries in Indiana should review their policies and practices with their legal counsel to determine their best course of action to comply with the provisions of the Requirements, and whether the amended language will require them to conduct additional background checks. Sterling clients with any questions related to Indiana background checks, or their services should contact their designated representative.

The full text of HB 1264 can be found here.

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