Should You Give Your Social Security Number to a Prospective Parent?

6a0133f3fc5805970b01b8d09e46d0970c-320wiA family child care provider in Texas was recently conducting an interview with a prospective family when a strange thing happened.

Everything seems to be going well until the father told her he was a police officer and asked her for her Social Security number. He said he wanted it so he could do his own background check before enrolling their child.

Texas child care licensing rules require a state and motor vehicle background check, as well as an FBI fingerprint check on both the provider and her husband.

Despite this, the father still insisted on asking for her Social Security number.

What do you do if this happened to you?

There is no federal or state law that would require you to give your Social Security number to a prospective family.

I strongly advise you not to give out your Social Security number to parents. It’s too risky because of the possibility of identity theft.

Parents should be careful when selecting a child care provider for their child. Besides interviewing several providers and determining if the chosen provider will offer quality care, parents should also:

* Use a licensed caregiver, if possible

* Ask for references from previous families, and

* Contact the state child care licensing office to see what types of licensing violations have occurred.

However, in my opinion, asking for a provider’s Social Security number is taking a step too far.

It can lead to an invasion of a provider’s privacy and identity theft. And it’s not necessary for a parent to collect the necessary information to make an informed decision about child care.

I don’t know how common it is for parents to ask for a provider’s Social Security number. “Conducting a Background Check During Your Child Care Search” is a disturbing article on the Internet that mentions this.

The article encourages parents looking for child care to conduct the following background checks on prospective providers:

* Criminal-record check

* Court record check

* Department of Motor Vehicles

* Credit report

* Social Security trace (to find out where you have lived in the past)

* Workers compensation check (to see if you’ve made fraudulent claims)

* Health record check

Unfortunately, this article confuses hiring an employee and purchasing child care services from a family child care provider. It goes way overboard in its advice to parents.

There is no uniformity across the country as to what type of background checks providers must currently undergo to become licensed by their state. The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 will require all states to conduct a comprehensive background check on all family child care providers who care for government subsidized children.

When do parents usually ask for your Social Security number?

Parents often ask their provider for their Social Security number when they claim the federal child care tax credit. See my article, “How to Help Parents Claim All Allowable Child Tax Credits.”

You don’t want to give this out for reasons of privacy and identity theft. Instead, get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and give this to parents at the end of the year. Most providers have their EIN. It costs nothing and can be easily obtained here.

What did the Texas provider do?

She felt uneasy when the father asked for her Social Security number. She told me she would feel like she was “walking on eggshells every day hoping his child didn’t get a scratch” for fear the father would do something about it.

She followed up by contacting her licensor and the local police department. Her licensor told her not to give out her number and that a police officer should not be making such a request. The police department told her his name was not in their files and recommended that she not give her number out!

She decided not to care for this family’s child.

Tom Copeland –

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