Although each state sets its own standards for which crimes disqualify applicants from serving as a child care provider, it's generally difficult for someone with a criminal record to enter that line of work. Those convicted of minor crimes should have hope, but more serious offenders will likely need to reconsider their options.
Applicants convicted of serious felony—such as homicide, human trafficking, arson, public indecency or a weapons-related offense—will almost certainly be automatically excluded from working at a child care facility or receiving a license to start their own. Some states, however, struggle with enforcing these restrictions: in Milwaukee, Wisc., for example, a women opened a certified day care center in 2000, three years after pleading guilty to battery and domestic abuse.
In general, a misdemeanor conviction is less of an obstacle to childcare employment than a felony conviction: the Texas Administrative Code, for example, allows convicts with a misdemeanor more of a chance than felony convicts. The Texas code also offers minor drug offenses more leniency, and other states may have similarly forgiving policies.
Time limits usually play a factor in determining who's legally fit to take charge of child care. To use Texas as an example, people convicted of a crime under the Texas Controlled Substances Act may be eligible for work in a childcare facility if 10 years have passed since the conviction. On the other hand, some states ask child care providers to update not only their childcare license but their criminal history registry as well, and so a previously clean record does not guarantee future employment. Oregon, for example, has a criminal history registry that providers must keep up to date.
- a mother and a child image by Alexander Petrari from Fotolia.com