A criminal background cannot be taken as an indication of a person’s character. The circumstances that might lead someone to commit a felony are varied. A felon who pays their debt to society through jail time, fines, and/or civil service has the right to earn an honest living and reenter society. The world is full of stories of criminals who used their prison time for education, spiritual development, and connection with family and loved ones. Upon release, they find themselves freed to work towards their potential and re-establish positive relationships.
This may include relationships with their children. Positive parenting does not only help children. The added responsibilities of parenthood can profoundly affect the way that mothers and fathers conduct their lives. There is an emotional and social investment in the well-being of a child that can allow parents to build networks with other parents, give to the community by coaching and mentoring, and focus on self-care and stability in their own lives.
Childcare Choices For Ex-Felons
According to Rutgers University, 2.7 million children have a parent in jail, and nearly 10 million have had to experience life with an incarcerated parent at some point in their lives.These parents, like any other parents, will seek to be positive and effective parents upon their release from prison. Because this issue is one which affects a significant percentage of children in America, it is important that former felons understand their choices.
Part of re-integration into society after incarceration will likely involve getting a job, particularly for inmates who leave prison and have to resume parental duties. Thus, for those with children, there is a likelihood they will have to consider childcare during the hours when their children are out of school, but before the parents can leave their jobs.
Types of childcare might include the following:
- School-run daycares
- Private daycares
- Tutoring or homework club
- YMCA programs
- City recreational programs
There may be some hesitation about how to approach these options. Most businesses or programs that provide childcare services will require parents to complete an application in the form of paperwork, or online forms. These will establish proof of residency, income verification, and compliance with any local, state, federal, or business policies.
In many states, there are laws that allow child care providers to deny access to the facility for adults who are deemed to pose any kind of risk to either children or the employees.
Why Daycares Might Perform A Background Check
Some daycares may require additional information, including a social security number, or state ID/driver’s license number. These may be done for the purposes of a background check, and may include:
- A credit check
- Criminal history and court records
- DMV history
- Educational records
This can understandably feel invasive. However, the daycare’s first concern is to provide safety for the children in their care, and a sense of security for the parents of those children. A background check allows for a daycare to gain an idea of an applicant’s trustworthiness, financial stability, behavioral concerns, or potential risks of interaction.
Work In Child Care For Former Felons
Many daycares will also often screen potential employees. Parents expect that a daycare will provide a safe, nurturing environment for children at their facility. In turn, daycare management is responsible for ensuring that their employees have both the necessary experience and quality of character.
Employers in the childcare industry will generally screen first time job applicants who have taken courses in child development, child psychology, or education. Previous experience is often accepted in place of education, but that will depend upon the facility. Desirable character and personality traits will include positivity, high energy, steadiness, problem solving, and dependability.
If a felon is considering applying for work with a daycare, they should take the usual considerations as they would with any job application.
- Be honest in disclosing your past
- Do not falsify experience or qualifications
- Provide references that will vouch for your suitability as an employee
- Provide references that will vouch for your character
If possible, the best course of action is to have your criminal conviction either expunged or sealed. Your options for doing so will depend upon your state of residence, but that process will either remove the conviction from your record, or prevent it from being seen by anyone outside of the court system.
For someone with a felony on their record, life after prison can seem full of obstacles. That in itself is already unfair. Adding to this unfairness is that a conviction can force children of felons to cope with challenges as well. Fortunately, society is full of compassionate people who believe that both children and parents should not have to struggle to find adequate child care. By using resources online and in the school system, ex-felons should be able to find safe and nurturing care for their children.