Typically parents leave their children with
babysitters or nannies, trusting them with the safety and well-being of their
kids. Until recently, parents could only rely on references and word-of-mouth
on choosing who would care for their children. Most babysitters are efficient
and never have problems, but there have been situations where kids have been
mistreated, abused and even killed.
In order to minimize further tragedies,
California now has TrustLine, a state government hotline called
"TrustLine" that allows parents, for a fee, to run criminal and abuse
background checks on potential baby sitters. Caregivers listed with the
registry have passed a background screening that includes a fingerprint check
of records at the California Department of Justice. This means they have no
disqualifying criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports in
California. An FBI check can also be done for an additional fee.
A caregiver can register with TrustLine prior to employment or a parent can
request from a potential sitter, a set of fingerprints along with permission
for a criminal history check to be done. As of March 1998, there has been 26,
990 applicants cleared through TrustLine. Additionally, 1,971 were not
registered due to criminal activity in their background.