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How to Perform a Do-It-Yourself Background Check
Childcare Provider Background Checks
Your children are the light of your life and you give them special care. When you have to leave them with a caregiver, you should know that they are being cared for by someone who will treat them as you would and who will respect your wishes. This includes not hitting them, not neglecting them, and not inviting other people into your home.
There are many aspects of a child care provider’s history that you should look into before letting them into your home. Two of the most important being 1) to ensure that the individual has never been incarcerated and 2) they are not listed in the National Sex Offender Public Registry.
How to Check the Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry
1. Go to the Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry at http://www.nsopr.gov/.
2. Read the terms and conditions on the website. Don’t forget to read the specific conditions for your state. You can check these by clicking on your state’s link within the ‘Terms and Conditions’ box.
3. Click ‘Agree’
4. Once in, you can search by last name, first name, county, city, or up to 5 zip codes at one time.
5. Once you have input your search criteria, use the interactive map to select the states you want to search and click ‘Search’.
6. A list will appear with each person’s name, state, county, city, and zip code that match your search criteria.
7. To find out more information, click on the person’s name.
8. You will be taken to a database owned by your state, which lists detailed infomation about the person and, usually, a picture. Available information may include:
- Their last known address
- When their last known address was documented
- The county their last known address is in
- Their race
- Their gender
- Their date of birth
- The date they became a registered sex offender
- And their offense
It is important not to assume that you shouldn’t check this database just because the potential child care provider is a woman, as there are many women listed in this database as well.
How to Check the Federal Bureau of Prisons Website
1. Go to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website at www.bop.gov. Remember, this is the federal website, so only federal inmates will be listed. Individuals who have only spent time in county or state jails will not be listed on this website.
2. Select ‘Inmate Locator’. This search will give you listings for inmates that are or have been incarcerated since 1982.
3. Conduct a search by first and last name or ID number. If you choose first and last name, you can also filter your search by middle initial, race, gender, and age.
4. Your results will be generated based on your search criteria. These results will include:
- The persons first and last name (middle name or middle initial also, if applicable)
- Their register number
- Their age
- Their gender
- Their release date (actual if already released or projected if not yet released)
- Their location (what prison, if not released, and just the word ‘RELEASED’ if they have been released)
5. You can click on the person’s location to find out more information about the prison they are currently in.
Besides checking these two databases, you may also want to check past employer references (if child care related) and personal references. The more you know about the potential provider’s character, the better off you will be when trying to make a decision on whether or not to hire the individual.
Knowing this information will help you determine whether that individual is fit to be alone around your child. While supervised baby-sitters need a less comprehensive background check, you should check both of these databases for a record on any adult who will be responsible for your child’s safety for any length of time.
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