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Child Care: Overview of Relevant Employment Laws and Cases of Sex Offenders at Child Care Facilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2011
32 pages
This report provides an overview of Federal and State laws related to the employment of sex offenders at child care facilities.
This report examines cases where individuals who were convicted of serious sexual offenses were subsequently employed or present at child care facilities. Findings show that although Federal laws regulate the employment of sex offenders at Federal child care facilities at the State level, laws vary widely. For example, all 50 States require criminal-history checks for owners and employees of licensed child care facilities, but many State laws exempt facilities from licensing if they do not exceed certain thresholds, such as a minimum number of children. Penalties for violating licensing requirements can range from a $5 dollar administrative fine to imprisonment for a term of years. The cases examined in this study show examples of individuals convicted of serious sexual offenses who gained access to child care facilities as maintenance workers, spouses or friends of providers, a cafeteria worker, and a cook. At least seven of these cases involve offenders who previously targeted children, and in three of the cases, the offenders used their access to children at the facilities to offend again. Among the cases, instances were found where providers knowingly hired offenders and did not perform pre-employment criminal-history checks. Also found were examples of facilities operating without licenses, and facilities that employed offenders while receiving Federal funds. Data were collected on selected laws, prohibitions against offenders being present at child care facilities, requirements for conducting criminal-history checks, and penalties for violating these requirements. Ten cases from 8 States and the District of Columbia were selected for review. For each case, court documents were reviewed and law enforcement personnel were interviewed. Tables and appendix