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Understanding Criminal Background Checks

As your trusted advisor, GCCA is available to help you understand the impact of federal and state legislation around criminal background check requirements and clarify the difference between comprehensive and local criminal background checks.

Below you'll find some frequently asked questions relating to the purpose, requirements, and application process of this important aspect to your business.

For all of your criminal background check questions please click here.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the new Comprehensive Background Check?
  2. I heard that DECAL will pay for background checks for my employees. Is this true?
  3. What programs are eligible to receive funds for background checks?
  4. Who is eligible to receive funds for background checks?
  5. How much of and which background checks will DECAL pay for?
  6. Will DECAL pay for out-of-state checks?
  7. I recently paid for an employee to be fingerprinted. Can I be reimbursed for this cost?
  8. What is the process for receiving funds for background checks?
  9. What are the changes to the background check requirements that went into affect on October 1, 2018?

What is the new Comprehensive Background Check?

As of September, 2016 a new federal law was passed that affects all licensed childcare programs and a select few license-exempt programs. This new law requires all individuals under consideration for employment within the childcare industry undergo a rigorous, comprehensive background check.

The comprehensive background check includes the following:

1. A national fingerprint-based criminal history (which Georgia currently requires);

2. The Georgia Child Abuse Registry (which requires applicant consent);

3. The National Sex Offender Registry (which requires applicant consent);

4. A state fingerprint-based criminal history for every US state, territory, and/or tribal land in which an applicant has resided in the past five years (which requires applicant consent); and

5. The state child abuse registry in every US state, territory, and/or tribal land in which an applicant has resided in the past five years (which requires applicant consent).


I heard that DECAL will pay for background checks for my employees. Is this true?

YES! DECAL has recently been awarded additional funds, a portion of which will be used to pay for initial national fingerprint-based background checks for child care employees for two years beginning October 1, 2018.


What programs are eligible to receive funds for background checks?

All DECAL licensed child care learning centers; All DECAL licensed family child care learning homes; All license-exempt programs that participate in the Georgia Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program; and All support centers that run background checks for employees who will work in a program listed above.


Who is eligible to receive funds for background checks?

DECAL will cover the cost of the national fingerprint-based background check for any employee or resident of an eligible program (see above) who is newly hired or whose current background check determination will expire in the next four months. Remember, the definition of “employee” is broad; it includes directors, providers, cooks, bus drivers, traditional staff members, volunteers, students-in-training, independent contractors, and residents (age 17 and older) in the home.


How much of and which background checks will DECAL pay for?

As funds allow, DECAL will bear the full cost of the following checks: the initial national/Georgia fingerprint-based criminal history check through GEMALTO; the Georgia child abuse and neglect registry; the Georgia sex offender registry; and the national sex offender registry.


Will DECAL pay for out-of-state checks?

Unfortunately, no. These funds do not cover the cost of out-of-state checks.


I recently paid for an employee to be fingerprinted. Can I be reimbursed for this cost?

Unfortunately, no. DECAL cannot reimburse providers for background checks completed before October 1, 2018. Providers must follow the procedures below for the cost of the background check to be covered.


What is the process for receiving funds for background checks?

Beginning October 1, 2018, DECAL will be directly billed for fingerprint registrations through GEMALTO. Follow the steps below to register:

a. Visit the GEMALTO GAPS website at https://www.aps.gemalto.com/ga/index.htm.

b. Select Applicant Registration bar at the bottom of the page.

c. Select the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) button.

d. Select the Register to be Fingerprinted button.

e. Read and accept the Privacy Rights and Privacy Act statements.

f. Activate the REASON drop down menu and select DECAL – Daycare Director/Employee*.

g. Type in the Requesting Agency ID as GAP11164.

h. Complete the registration process by submitting your personal information.


What are the changes to the background check requirements that went into affect on October 1, 2018?

  • Local background checks will no longer be accepted (no more 21-day provisional employment)
  • Everyone must have at least a fingerprint-based background check letter issued by DECAL before they can be present at the center to care for children or reside at a center
  • The new definition of Provisional Employee includes those with only a satisfactory Fingerprint Records Check Determination. People with this type of clearance are allowed on site, but must be under the direct and continuous supervision of a Director or Employee with a satisfactory Comprehensive Records Check Determination
  • A new comprehensive background check must be run for anyone who has had a lapse of employment in the child care industry that lasts 6 months or longer. (Students-in-Training are considered “employed in the child care industry” if they’ve been enrolled in a child care related curriculum.)
  • Programs can no longer accept paper clearance letters from a prospective employee. Letters will only be accepted at a facility if they are “ported” electronically through your DECAL KOALA account.