Background Checks

  • About Background Checks

    Background checks are processed through the Background Investigation Unit (BIU), which is a part of the Division of Early Care and Learning.

    Colorado applicants are required to participate in a criminal background check and a child abuse and neglect records check. 

    1. Criminal Background Checks: This is a fingerprint-based criminal history record check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine if the applicant has been convicted of any criminal offenses that are identified in the Colorado Child Care Licensing Act. The check is completed for employees and owners of a licensed child care facility, including Family Child Care Homes. The individual providing care in the Family Child Care Home and anyone living in that home will need to complete a background check.
    2. Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check: This is a check of the Colorado Department of Human Services’ (CDHS) Trails database for confirmed reports of child abuse or neglect. This check is done when a typewritten request and fee is submitted to the BIU for people requesting this information.

    Out-of-state applicants are required to participate in a child abuse and neglect records check:
    1. Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check:  This is a check of the Colorado Department of Human Services’ (CDHS) Trails database for information to determine if the applicant has been identified as having a finding of child abuse or neglect. This check is done when a typewritten request and fee is submitted to the BIU for people requesting this information. Please note: The Department has limited authority to conduct checks for out-of-state applicants. At this time, the Department may not conduct checks for purposes outside of adoption, foster care and the CASA program.

  • Colorado-based Applicants

    Colorado applicants are required to participate in a criminal background check and a child abuse and neglect records check.

    Criminal Background Check (CBC)

    The BIU works with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) when searching criminal history on all employees or workers of child care centers. The criminal background check process starts when a fingerprint card has been submitted and the background check fee has been paid. An individual’s fingerprint card will be flagged if an employee is arrested after the original fingerprints are processed.  ​

    Fingerprint cards and fees for Family Child Care Homes should be sent directly to the Office of Early Childhood. Fingerprint cards for Child Care Centers should be sent directly to the CBI. 

    How to Fill Out a Fingerprint Card

    • Complete the following items on each card: Name (full name), Aliases (any other names used), Citizenship (U.S Citizen, Non-U.S. Citizen), Social Security Number, Address and the reason why fingerprints are needed.
    • ​Be sure to complete the physical details section of the card (Sex, Race, Height, Weight, Eyes and Hair), Date of Birth and Place of Birth. Leave the “Employer and Address” space blank. 
    • Take the fingerprint card(s) to a local law enforcement agency, such as a police department or sheriff’s office, for fingerprinting. The officer taking the fingerprints must sign and date the card(s) and witness the signature of the person being fingerprinted. 
    • DO NOT FOLD THE FINGERPRINT CARD(S).
    • Make check payable to the “CBI” for required Criminal Background Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation fees.
    • Mail completed fingerprint cards and payment to:
    Colorado Bureau of Investigation
    690 Kipling Street, Ste 3000
    Lakewood, CO 80215

    Are individuals required to submit fingerprint cards for each facility they work at? 
    Colorado state laws limit portability of criminal background checks. An individual must submit finger print cards for each child care facility they are employed at.

    Learn more about the criminal background check and CBI.


    Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check

    This is a review of the CDHS Trails database to check if an individual or employee has any confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect. 

    Employees working at more than one child care or preschool locations operated by the same governing body (e.g. school district) require only one Trails background check.

    Home Providers: Please note that child abuse and neglect records check (Trails) forms are not needed for any person residing in the family child care home. Child abuse and neglect records checks are only required for substitutes, aids or volunteers that will be working in a family child care home, but do not reside in the family child care home.

    Foster care and Adoption: For adoption and foster care, both marriage partners must provide signatures for processing this request. Colorado licensed facilities must use one form per couple for foster care and adoption applicants.

    How to request a Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check

    • Complete, print and sign a Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check form. Instructions and sample forms are available upon request.  You will use one of the following:

    • Write check or money order payable to the “CDHS-BIU Records and Reports” for required Background Investigation with the required fee of $35 per form. We do not accept cash. 
    • Mail completed form(s) and payment to:

    CDHS Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check
    Division of Early Care and Learning, CDHS
    1575 Sherman Street, 1st Floor
    Denver, CO 80203-1714

    How do I know which form to use?
    • Facility Inquiry Form: The background inquiry is a check for any confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect. Licensed child care facilities must use this form. If you are a licensed child care facility, this check does not replace the criminal background check required for licensure.  
    • Individual Inquiry Form: The Individual Inquiry form should only be submitted for those individuals or facilities not licensed or required to be licensed by the CDHS Division of Early Care and Learning. The Individual Inquiry form includes a Waiver and Authorization to Release Information section. In order for information to be released directly to another person or agency, this authorization must be completed and signed by the individual for whom the background check is being completed.  

    Eligible Applicants for Child Abuse and Neglect Records Checks
    Due to a new statutory interpretation of Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 19-1-307, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Background Investigations Unit can only process requests for the following applicants or purposes:
    • applicants for a license to operate a child care facility or agency
    • exempt family child care home providers participating in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program 
    • applicants for an employee or volunteer position with a licensed neighborhood youth organization
    • applicants for an employee position with a guest child care facility or a public services short-term child care facility
    • the Colorado Department of Education when investigating an allegation of abuse by an employee of a Colorado school district
    • prospective CASA volunteers for the CASA program
    • screening any person responsible for providing child care pursuant to a contract with a county department for placements out of the home or private child care
    • prospective adoptive parents
    • private adoption agencies in any state screening prospective adoptive parents
    • Colorado-based qualified county departments, individuals, or child placement agencies and other states’ child placement agencies and state, county and local government agencies approved to screen prospective adoptive parents, foster care parents, kinship care parents, or any adult residing in the home 
    • licensed child placement agencies screening prospective foster parents, any adult residing in the home of the prospective foster parent, and specialized group facilities, when access is limited to information concerning a current or prospective foster parent, an adult residing in the home of the current or prospective foster parent, or a specialized group facility
    The CDHS OEC Background Investigations Unit cannot process requests for applicants or purposes not listed in CRS 19-1-307 which may include but are not limited to:
    • individuals participating in a volunteer organization and working in a child care program that is NOT licensed by CDHS; 
    • individuals living outside of Colorado that work in licensed or legally exempt child care programs that receive Child Care and Development Block Grant funds;
    • unlicensed Head Start/Early Head Start programs;
    • background check companies;
    • tribal entities (except for exempt family child care home providers);
    • health departments; and 
    • CDHS contract employees (these checks must be processed by the CDHS Division of Human Resources under the Vulnerable Persons Act, CRS 27-90-111).
  • Out-of-state Applicants

    This is a review of the CDHS Trails database to check if an individual or employee has any confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect. 

    Eligible Out of State Applicants
    Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 19-1-307 limits the authority of the Department to conduct checks for out-of-state applicants to the following:

    • prospective CASA volunteers for the CASA program;
    • individuals, or child placement agencies and other states’ child placement agencies and state, county and local government agencies approved to screen prospective adoptive parents, foster care parents, kinship care parents, or any adult residing in the home; and
    • licensed child placement agencies screening prospective foster parents, any adult residing in the home of the prospective foster parent, and specialized group facilities, when access is limited to information concerning a current or prospective foster parent, an adult residing in the home of the current or prospective foster parent, or a specialized group facility.

    At this time, we do not have the authority to conduct checks for individuals living outside of Colorado that work in licensed or legally exempt child care programs that receive Child Care and Development Block Grant funds.

    How to request a Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check
    If you live outside of Colorado but are required to conduct this check in your state:

    • ​Complete, print and sign a Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check form. Instructions and sample forms are available upon request.  
      • If you need the result of the background inquiry to be sent to a third party, you must complete and sign the Waiver of Authorization to Release Information section
      • Individual Inquiry Form
    • Write check or money order payable to the “CDHS-BIU Records and Reports” for required Background Investigation with the required fee of $35 per form. We do not accept cash. 
    • Mail completed form(s) and payment to:

    CDHS Child Abuse and Neglect Records Check
    Division of Early Care and Learning, CDHS
    1575 Sherman Street, 1st Floor
    Denver, CO 80203-1714

     

  • Disqualifying Crimes

    CDHS provides the results of the background checks in a statement that indicates whether the child care employee is eligible or ineligible for employment within a licensed child care facility, without revealing specific disqualifying information. If the employee is ineligible, the department will provide information about each disqualifying crime to the employee.

    View disqualification criteria.

  • Notification of Flag/Name Removal from License

    Future arrest information is received for individuals no longer employed at a facility or residing in a child care home until the facility completes a Name/Flag Removal Form.

    Name/Flag Removal Forms must be filled out, signed and sent to the BIU when the employee resigns or is terminated, the facility closes, or a person living in the home moves out. 

    The BIU determines if a person’s background information meets the Child Care Licensing Act criteria or does not meet the criteria for the background check. As a child care facility owner or employee, you may be asked to submit forms regarding the background check results to the BIU, to the Licensing Specialist or to a representative of CDHS. It is the owner/employee’s responsibility to keep copies of these documents.

Questions? Contact the Background Investigation Unit:

Background Investigation Unit
Division of Early Care and Learning, CDHS
1575 Sherman Street, 1st Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 1-800-799-5876
Fax: 303-866-5340

Criminal Background Investigation Checks: cdhs_oec_cbc_biu@state.co.us  

Background Inquiry Checks: cdhs_oec_backgroundinvestigation@state.co.us