NH childcare workers cannot start work until background checks are complete – Employment Check resources

Written by Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn

Effective December 15, 2022, in what child caregivers in New Hampshire are describing as “devastating” news, child caregivers “can no longer make new hires until their background checks are complete, a process they say can take six weeks or.” longer,” according to a report in the New Hampshire Bulletin.

“Currently, new employees can start immediately, as long as they are supervised and accompanied until their background checks are completed,” the Bulletin reported. “When you’re forced to leave a position vacant for six weeks or more, hiring, which is already a struggle, becomes even more difficult and forces some centers to close.”

Before Dec. 15, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had “granted centers a waiver allowing them to hire new staff immediately, with the proviso that they are not left alone with children before their background checks Are completed”. The Bulletin reported.

However, DHHS will not accept or approve exceptions after December 15 to maintain “compliance” with federal regulations that prohibit providers from working with children until their background check is complete. A spokesman told the Bulletin that DHHS faces a $700,000 fine if it fails to comply with the regulations.

A spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Safety — which helps conduct the background checks by processing state criminal records and federal fingerprint-based records — said the agency has “taken several precautions regarding the processing time and process,” including a new criminal record portal.

“Everyone understands the value of background checks,” an executive director of a nonprofit childcare advocacy group told the Bulletin. “Nobody wants to stop the background check process. Ideally, you have a quick background check approval process that takes about a week.”

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