Background Checks

Comprehensive background checks are an essential component of child care licensing compliance, and is required every five years. 

A little boy sitting on a colorful run at a child care site gives a thumbs up.

May 2021 Update 

Due to COVID-19, the child care industry has experienced tremendous hardship in securing staff to support in-person child care services for RI’s youngest learners. In order to help support child care centers and family child care homes in recruiting and onboarding full time staff, DHS is working alongside the RI Attorney General’s Office (RIAG) to waive comprehensive fingerprint check fees that are completed at the RIAG’s office in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Effective May 5, 2021 through April 30, 2023, the RIAG will temporarily waive all fees associated with the comprehensive background check for child care staff and redirect those costs to DHS to reimburse through quarterly invoices.

The previous cost to complete and process these comprehensive background checks are $40/individual ($35/individual for a comprehensive fingerprint and $5/individual for the BCI).

Child care center staff, family child care providers and household members will still be required to provide a signed Affidavit (form below) from their DHS-licensed employer validating their employment prior to having RIAG process the comprehensive background check. The signed affidavit will be the way you are able to receive a comprehensive fingerprint at no cost. If you do not have the affidavit, the RIAG’s office cannot confirm that you are a child care employee.

The waived fingerprint cost is only applicable at the Attorney General’s office. Local police, at their discretion, are still providing comprehensive fingerprints but this waived fee is only available at the RIAG’s office in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Background Checks

Effective 2015 per federal CCDF law, all employees hired by a DHS-licensed child care providers are required to complete a comprehensive background check prior to employment. Since this federal requirement was implemented in Rhode Island, DHS has worked to centralize the background checks at the RI Attorney General’s Office (RIAG). 

A comprehensive background check consists of the following:

  • RI Child Abuse and Neglect Registry Check – only available from the Department of Children, Youth and Families (formerly known as a CANTS check)
  • National FBI Fingerprint Criminal History Check
  • State criminal background check for RI (also known as the BCI) (If fingerprints were conducted in RI, the state check is included in the national. If fingerprints were conducted outside of RI, a state criminal BCI is needed.)
  • State Sex Offender Registry (RISOR)
  • National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR)
  • Interstate Criminal, Sex Offender Registry, and Child Abuse and Neglect Registry (for any individual who has lived outside of Rhode Island in the previous five years)

Effective December 2019, the Rhode Island Attorney General will accept any and all staff members for walk-in fingerprinting. It is imperative to the Child Care Licensing team that you can hire, onboard and train staff to ensure successful adherence to the child care regulations. While you are still able to go to your local and state police barracks if necessary, the Attorney General will fingerprint new hires for you immediately. The cost of the comprehensive background check at the Attorney General’s office will be $40.00.

  • Due to COVID-19, we ask those individuals to contact BCI first in order to make an appointment at 401-274-4400 , ext. 2.

Please provide the fingerprint affidavit (below in English and Spanish) to all child-caring staff upon hire moving forward. It is important that you work with your staff to fill this out entirely, so the complete comprehensive background check can be obtained.

Background Check Requirements Infographic

A Helpful Background Check Requirements Infographic is below in English and Spanish.