A new provision in Nebraska law went into effect this month requiring all child care workers in the state undergo federal background checks, including FBI fingerprinting, to work for a state licensed child care provider. The law change comes after senators passed LB 460 during this year’s legislative session.
LB 460 updated existing state law to bring Nebraska into compliance with the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, which funds child care licensing activities in the state.
“Nebraska receives over $30 million annually in federal payments for an array of activities supporting quality child care,” said Karen Heng, Deputy Director for the Division of Children and Family Services, which administers Nebraska’s child care subsidy program. “While updating the law allows the state to continue to utilize federal funds to provide child care subsidies for some Nebraskans, it also further strengthens DHHS’ efforts to ensure safety for Nebraska’s children.”
Beginning October 1, 2019, all potential new employees at licensed child care providers must complete the expanded background checks before beginning work. Existing providers and provider staff have two years, until October 1, 2021, to complete full federal background checks.
The new law also requires all child care staff to undergo federal background checks no less than once every five years.
Employees or potential employees who refuse to consent to federal background check, who knowingly make a false statement concerning a background check or who have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, violence or dishonesty are ineligible for employment with licensed child care providers in Nebraska. Any child care provider that employs an ineligible child care staff member will be ineligible for a license and unable to participate in the child care subsidy program.
“FBI background checks provide the highest and most accurate account of individual identities,” said Heng.
More than 12,000 people work for 3,400 licensed child care providers in Nebraska.