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Question: Should Background Checks Be Conducted for Volunteers at a Day Care Center? Answer: Absolutely – Here is one story showing why . . .

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In Arkansas and other States, day care centers have a duty to supervise, educate, and otherwise care for the children in a safe and supportive environment. The day care center should screen, background check, and train employees AND volunteers as necessary. The safety and well being of the children should be the focus of the day care center. At times, parents and others will request to serve as volunteers at the day care center. While most volunteers are caring individuals who only want to serve the day care center and community with their time and efforts, some volunteers have ulterior motives and visit the day care center as voyeurs or worse yet molesters seeking their next victims. It is certainly a study in contrast in that volunteers may be the most altruistic or the most vile. Again, most volunteers have good intentions and good motives; however, because of those that seek to prey on children in day care centers, schools, and sports organization, it is important that background checks are completed and that ALL volunteers are properly supervised and NOT given the opportunity to abuse or otherwise harm a child in a day care center, child care facility, school, or other location.

In Garland County, Arkansas, KTHV reported that a convicted sex offender had been volunteering at a day care center. According to the Hot Springs Police Department, “some things fell through the cracks.” Police reported that Nashaun Ruffin, from Tallahassee (Leon County) Florida, failed to register as a sex offender when he relocated to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Mr. Ruffin had been convicted of a sex crime in New York involving the sodomy of a 6 year old boy. Mr. Ruffin served 8 years in prison and then moved from New York to Florida. You can read more about this story at Arkansas Day Care Center – Volunteer Was a Sex Offender.

Background checks on day care center employees and volunteers can help exclude or weed out those applicants and potential volunteers with criminal records; however, it should be noted that some sex offenders / child predators have not been caught and therefore do not have a criminal record out there. For those applicants with no criminal record who may pose a danger to children, the interview process and background check by contacting references and prior employers may provide information that, in turn, excludes the potential employee or volunteer from the facility.

Each day care center / child care facility should exercise due diligence when interviewing and screening employees and volunteers. Local and State regulations should be followed as to background checks, licensure, and training. Furthermore, the facility should have and follow its own internal policies and procedures for hiring and then supervision of the employees and volunteers once hired.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can receive this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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