TrustLine – the who, what & where’s of California’s Official Background Trust

If culling & interviewing your own candidates, there are a few important steps to take prior to hiring a caregiver. We hear from families time & time again that it is easy to breeze past the steps because they feel very comfortable with the individual, but it is most important to ensure that you know all the facts about the individual who you are entrusting the safety of your your children to before they are gainfully employed by your family.

Safety is the number one priority when choosing a childcare professional.  Trustline (, California’s official Background Check for In-Home Child Care, is a database of license-exempt child care providers (nannies and baby-sitters) who have passed a criminal history background check in California. It is the only authorized screening program of in-home caregivers in the state, and has access to fingerprint records at the California Department of Justice and the FBI. TrustLine also checks the California Child Abuse Central Index for any substantiated child abuse reports.

The process for families to verify a caregiver as registered with Trustline is as follows:

- Obtain the following information from your childcare provider: Full Name & ID (Drivers License, CA ID, Alien Registration Card, etc).

- Ask for a copy of their photo ID to verify identity (they are who they say they are).

- Phone 800-822-8490 to verify that the caregiver is in fact registered with Trustline.

Should the individual not be registered and also not be disqualified, click here to review the correct steps to register. Note: TrustLine is a two part process (finger prints – referred to as LiveScan –  and an application that accompanies the LiveScan results). It is not uncommon for a candidate to think they have registered with TrustLine if they have had LiveScan. It’s understandably confusing, especially if they had to be have fingerprints completed by LiveScan for a preschool or childcare facility.

What does TrustLine check? TrustLine is the only background check authorized by state law of California to use three databases that the general public, including private investigators and private background check companies, cannot access. These databases include the fingerprint records from the California Department of Justice’s California Criminal History System; the Child Abuse Central Index of California; and fingerprint records of the FBI Criminal History System. Trustline is based off the individual’s fingerprints – versus social security number – as finger prints can not be tampered with or amended.

How does a childcare provider get added to the registry? TrustLine applicants complete fingerprinting and submit a one-page form, and a one-time fee to the Department of Social Services. Once a childcare provider is registered, they are in the system for life. It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks for an applicant to be registered. Upon registration, both the referral agency and applicant receive a letter in the mail stating acceptance or rejection.

Why is TrustLine important? TrustLine is California state law. All employment agencies (nanny and babysitter placement agencies) are required by law to register their caregivers with TrustLine upon placement. This applies to all childcare providers who are placed in a home, including one-time babysitters, temporary nannies, part-time and full-time nannies.

As an agency owner, what is MOST valuable to Sensible Sitters is the real-time updates of a registrant’s status. Should a caregiver’s record change, the agencies on record will be notified. However, a private family can not be associated with a candidate. That means that you should periodically check in to ensure nothing has changed. The number to do so is: 800-822-8490.

Some recommendations to families: 

- verify the identity of an individual by comparing them to their photo id.

- periodically check in with Trustline to ensure no changes have been made to their record

- If a candidate furnishes you with their Trustline letter of verification, you should still verify on your own. This letter could be outdated. While we hope all information presented by an individual is truthful, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

- Trustline does NOT provide a driver’s license history report. Any criminal activity (driving without a license, DUI/DWI, etc) will be reported by infractions (non-criminal offense) will not be reported. It is very important for character reference and especially if your sitter/nanny will be driving your child to run a driver’s license record. The candidate themselves must request this and can do so by visiting the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.

If Sensible Sitters can help you navigate this process further, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>