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Background Checks

Background checks for child care providers help ensure that California’s children in all types of child care settings are safe.  There are two types of background checks: 

  1. The California Department of Social Services runs background checks for licensed child care programs. 
  2. TrustLine manages background checks for license-exempt providers.

Background Checks for Licensed Child Care Providers

Before you start working in a licensed child care center or open your family child care home, you must complete a background check and receive a criminal record clearance. The California Department of Social Services runs the background check process.  If you have any questions during the process, you can contact your local Community Care Licensing Office for help.

You must get a background check if:

  • You want to work or volunteer in a licensed child care center. 
  • You are over the age of 18 years and live in a licensed family child care home applying for a license. 
  • You are over the age of 18 and want to work in a licensed family child care home applying for license.

The background check includes a:

  • Fingerprint check in the criminal history records at the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI.
  • Name check in the Child Abuse Central Index housed at the California DOJ.

How to get a background check:

Criminal Record Clearance

  • The DOJ and other agencies send their checks to the Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB).
  • CBCB will issue a Criminal Record Clearance if you have not committed any crimes except for minor traffic violations.
  • Sometimes the CDSS will issue an exemption for crimes that occurred a long time ago. The letter will list the documents you will need to submit to CBCB within 45 days. Specific instructions for requesting an exemption are on the CCL website. 
  • There are some crimes that are never exemptible.
  • If an exemption is denied, you may appeal in writing. The appeal must be received by the CDSS within 15 days from the date of the denial notification letter.

Background Checks for License-Exempt Providers

TrustLine is administered by the California Department of Social Services and the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. It is endorsed by the California Academy of Pediatrics.  You must apply to TrustLine before you begin working.

Call TrustLine 1-800-822-8490 to get started and if you need any help during the TrustLine process. Parents can also call 1-800-822-8490 to see if their provider is on the TrustLine Registry.

Who must register with TrustLine:

  • License-exempt providers such as a family members, friends, neighbors, nannies, or babysitters who care for children receiving a child care subsidy <LINK TO SUBSIDY PAGE>
    • Grandparents, aunts and uncles do not have to register.
  • Staff who work directly with children in the following organizations. The employer will help with the TrustLine Registry process.
    • Nanny agency
    • Ancillary child care center, for example child care at a health club 
    • Transport escort service that transports troubled youth  
    • On-call transportation company that transports primarily unaccompanied children 
  • Other license-exempt providers may register with TrustLine.

The background check includes a:

  • Fingerprint check in criminal history records at the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI
  • Name check in the Child Abuse Central Index housed at the California DOJ

How to get a background check:

  • Complete a TrustLine application. You can get the application by calling TrustLine at 1-800-822-8490 to get the application. You can also order the application packet on-line or get it from your employer. 
  • Make an appointment and then go to your local LiveScan site. 
  • If you have trouble finding your local LiveScan site, call TrustLine at 1-800-822-8490.
  • If you live outside CA, call TrustLine at 1-800-822-8490 to get the fingerprint information you need. 
  • Mail the application, fingerprint card or Live Scan form and a check or money order for the fees to the Department of Social Services. The application will tell you the amount of the fees and the mailing address. 

Getting Registered on TrustLine

  • The DOJ and other agencies send their checks to the Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB).
  • CDSS will send you a letter informing you that your status has changed from pending to Registered (cleared) or Closed.  
  • If the status is Registered, you are clear.
  • If the status is closed, you may or may not receive instructions on how to continue the application process.
  • If the status is closed because of criminal or child abuse history, you will receive information on how to request an exemption from CDSS.
  • There are some crimes that are never exemptible.
  • If an exemption is denied, you may appeal in writing. The appeal must be received by the CDSS within 15 days from the date of the denial notification letter.

TrustLine has a rap-back agreement with the California Department of Justice. If you ever commit a non-exemptible crime, CDSS will be notified and they will remove you from the TrustLine Registry.

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