The Richardson County Commissioners, in partnership with Communities for Kids and with the assistance of Lucas Froeschl at EDGE, recently purchased digital fingerprinting equipment for the county.
The purchase was made after C4K contributed $4,999.99 to the purchase of the digital fingerprinting equipment.
On July 7, 2023, Lisa Diveley and Ashley Keithley who is an emergency sub for Breezy Hill Childcare were the first to undergo electronic fingerprinting in Richardson County.
Fingerprint-based background checks run fingerprint searches against both FBI and state criminal databases to create a complete criminal profile of the applicant. Conversely, non-fingerprint background checks, or “name-checks,” are not nearly as comprehensive and run the applicant’s background against a limited number of predetermined commercially available records.
Kristen Hassebrook of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Omaha and Lincoln Chambers said in 2022 that childcare availability ranked among the top three concerns of respondents in a State Chamber survey conducted in 2021. Hassebrook observed that childcare availability is a top consideration for families considering relocating, but about 91 percent of Nebraska communities lack sufficient childcare options to meet local demand. This kind of fingerprinting equipment will speed up the process of getting more providers and ensure safe individuals working with the children in the community.
Sheriff Rick Hardesty said they did not have a fingerprint machine before now. The Department depended on ink and fingerprint cards provided by the Nebraska State Patrol, which will only provide a certain amount at a time. The cards would then have to be mailed back to the State Patrol and could take weeks if not longer, to receive results.
“For the jail staff, it’s easier,” said Sheriff Hardesty. “It electronically sends the information to the state patrol and the FBI. It’s a great benefit for teachers, childcare workers and nurses.”
County Commissioner Rick Karas said he knew how important it was to the Sheriff’s Department and the community.
“EDGE and everyone was big on this,” said Karas.
From July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024, all childcare providers and teachers in Richardson County will be allowed to get their fingerprints free as a thank-you for C4K contributing to this equipment. It’s strongly encouraged that providers call ahead to make an appointment.
“We hope with this machine that it will speed up the process of adding employees to childcare licenses,” stated Susan Witt of Sixpence CCP/C4K.