The Directors of EE Programs continue to digest the latest DCYF announcement about their background check and fingerprinting process. Early learning programs note considerable interference with hiring.

The issues include:

  • Long distances between background check locations
  • Minimal hours of operation of background check locations
  • Lack of automation and limited openings for scheduling fingerprinting
  • Inconsistent fingerprinting success forcing staff to reschedule and return to locations to redo the process.
  • New staff are barred from the school campus for all training until fingerprinting is complete. This delay disincentivizes potential employees.

Here is the language in the DCYF announcement:

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, all child care and early learning providers, including those not working directly with children or youth, who were previously allowed to work supervised after submitting their background application, must complete fingerprints and have a “Cleared” status in the Managed Education and Registry Tool (MERIT) to continue work at the child care facility.

Any application received by DCYF on or after Jan. 1, 2024, for child care and early learning providers must have an approved background check clearance for each applicant, staff member, or eligible household member, which includes fingerprints before the background check applicant can be hired or be on the child care or early learning premises, even if the applicant may not work directly with children or youth.