Screening for Child Care Workers

Washington is enacting a law requiring fingerprint checks for certain child care workers.

Church Law and Tax 1992-07-01 Recent Developments


The Washington legislature has enacted a law requiring certain child care workers to have fingerprint checks. The new law begins with the statement that “the legislature finds that additional safeguards are necessary to ensure the safety of Washington’s school children” and that “the results from state patrol record checks are more complete when fingerprints of individuals are provided, and that information from the federal bureau of investigation also is necessary to obtain information on out-of-state criminal records.” Accordingly, the legislature enacted the following law:

School districts, educational service districts, and their contractors hiring employees who will have regularly scheduled unsupervised access to children shall require a record check through the Washington state patrol criminal identification system … and through the federal bureau of investigation before hiring an employee. The record check shall include a fingerprint check using a complete Washington state criminal identification fingerprint card. The requesting entity shall provide a copy of the record report to the applicant. When necessary, applicants may be employed on a conditional basis pending completion of the investigation. If the applicant has had a record check within the previous two years, the district or contractor may waive the requirement. Section 28A.400 of the Revised Code of Washington.

While this legislation will not directly apply to churches, it does illustrate the concern being expressed by a state government over the risk that some child workers pose to children. A number of other states have enacted similar laws.

See Also: Negligent Selection

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