TrustLine Fact Sheet

What is TrustLine?

TrustLine was created by the California Legislature in 1987 and is a powerful resource for parents hiring a nanny or babysitter. TrustLine is California’s registry of in-home child care providers who have passed a background screening. All caregivers listed with TrustLine have been cleared through 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.


TrustLine is a child protection program of the State of California and the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network. The California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Justice assist in managing and distributing the information.

Program Highlights
TrustLine is the only child care registry in California with access to the most up-to-date and detailed databases at the California Department of Justice and the FBI

TrustLine is effective. Its database, which is updated continuously, screens out individuals who have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, child molestation, assault with a deadly weapon, willful child cruelty and other crimes. Thousands of individuals with criminal records have been denied a listing on the registry.

All employment agencies are required by law to register their caregivers with TrustLine upon placement. Parents should call TrustLine to make sure the employment agency has registered their caregiver with TrustLine.

Easy to Use

Parents can check if a provider is listed on TrustLine by calling 1-800-822-8490 and giving the provider’s full name, driver’s license number or other approved identification.

Easy to Register

Child care providers complete an application from TrustLine and send it to the California Department of Social Services along with a set of fingerprints (used to check Department of Justice and FBI records) and appropriate fees. If there are no disqualifying California or FBI criminal convictions of substantiated child abuse reports, the provider’s name is added to the registry.


The general public can receive more information about TrustLine by calling 800-822-8490 or logging on at

Tips on Choosing a Nanny or Babysitter

TrustLine is an essential step in finding the right nanny or baby-sitter.  But TrustLine is just one important tool to help you choose the best in-home caregiver for your child.  Here are some other TrustLine tips:

  1. Check each candidate’s references and work histories, and then make sure they’re registered with TrustLine by calling 1-800-822-8490.
  2. Interview potential caregivers and observe how they interact with and respond to your child.

Ask all candidates open-ended questions to understand how they care for children:

  • Tell me about your previous experiences working with children.
  • What activities do you like to do with children?
  • What are your feelings about discipline?
  • How would you handle naps, eating, toilet training or emergencies?
  • Are you comfortable following directions even if you would do things differently with your own children?

Ask practical questions:

  • Are you certified in child/infant CPR or first aid?
  • What if my child cries all day or refuses to eat or to nap?
  • Are you wiling to care for my child if he/she is sick?
  • What hours are you available?  Could you work extra hours occasionally and how much notice would you need?

Trust your instincts.

Hire someone both you and your children like and then agree to a trial period.  Spend some time watching your children and the caregiver interact before leaving them alone.

Once you have found a good caregiver:

  • Set up clear job responsibilities.
  • Communicate regularly about how the arrangement is working.
  • Periodically drop in unannounced to observe your child.
  • Always leave emergency contact information.
  • TrustLine is continually updated.  Caregivers who have committed a disqualifying crime subsequent to their clearance are removed.  So, you should call TrustLine periodically to make sure your caregiver is still registered.
  • For information on choosing child care and for referrals to licensed child care, contact your local child care resource and referral agency.  For the one nearest you, call TrustLine at 1-800-822-8490 or see the Child Care Resource and Referral Network web site.

TrustLine Public Awareness Campaign Launched

For Immediate Release:                                                                        Contact:   Cindy Mall
April 7, 1998                                                                                                       415-882-0234


Statewide Public Education Campaign Launched to Prevent Nanny/Baby Sitter Abuse

Pacific Life Foundation Grant Helps to Educate Public aboutLife-Saving TrustLine Program

TrustLine 1-800-822-8490

Sacramento – Parents and children victimized by unconscionable nannies and baby-sitters launched a comprehensive statewide public education campaign today for TrustLine – the state’s only background check for in-home child care with access to Department of Justice records – to help prevent abuse.

“You can never do too much to see that your children are safe. Parents should use all resources at their disposal, including TrustLine, checking references and conducting a thorough interview, to find the right in-home caregiver,” said Mary Beth Phillips, a TrustLine founder, whose daughter was permanently blinded after being shaken severely by a neighbor’s nanny.  “Being registered on TrustLine is a minimum requirement that parents should ask of a caregiver.  We hope the TrustLine campaign encourages parents and caregivers to use this life-saving service.”

TrustLine is a child protection program jointly administered by the California Department of Social Services and the non-profit Child Care Resource and Referral Network.  All caregivers listed with TrustLine have been cleared through 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.  It is also the only background check authorized by state law 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 endorsed by the California Academy ofPediatrics.

“With talk of fingerprinting and criminal records, some parents may feel uncomfortable requiring their caregiver to register with TrustLine,” said Eloise Anderson, Director, Department of Social Services.  “But is it worth the risk to not call or not register an in-home caregiver on TrustLine?  It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Pacific Life Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Pacific Life Insurance Company, provided a $180,000 grant for the public education campaign that includes the creation and statewide distribution of English and Spanish television and radio public service announcements, brochures and posters as well ascorporate fundraising and media campaigns.

“Pacific Life Foundation is proud to support this life-saving program,” said Robert G. Haskell, President of Pacific Life Foundation.  “We encourage other organizations to help spread the word about TrustLine.”

According to Patricia Siegel, executive director, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, more than 30,000 applicants have been processed through TrustLine.  “In 1997, more than 800 applicants were denied approval from the registry because of criminal backgrounds, including individuals with criminal convictions for murder, manslaughter, willful child cruelty, sexual assault and kidnapping,” she said.  “It’s an invaluable resource to prevent child abuse and address issues of quality of care in license exempt child care settings.”

Program administrators said that parents and potential caregivers will be more likely to call TrustLine’s 800 number because the campaign uses positive, nurturing themes and images to create interest and awareness.

The public education campaign is aimed at parents and those that influence them on a daily basis, such as pediatricians, hospital birthing center personnel, child care resource and referral agencies, play groups and more.  TrustLine’s posters and brochures feature bright colors with smiling toddlers framed in flowers with the headline, “Did you ever imagine you could love someone so much?”  Two public service announcements, one in English and one in Spanish, also will be distributed to television and radio stations statewide.  The television spots show a women caring for a toddler in a variety of settings.  However, it’s not until the end of the piece, when the parents walk through the front door, that it is revealed that the caregiver is a nanny/baby-sitter.

Siegel pointed out that all child care providers who operate in State-Licensed settings, such as child care centers, have undergone a similar screening process.  All employment agencies also are required by law to register their caregivers with TrustLine upon placement