HELP Committee Unanimously Passes Van Hollen and Burr’s Bill to Improve Safety in Child Care Facilities
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) unanimously passed U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) Child Care Protection Improvement Act. This bipartisan legislation would create a task force to assist states in the process of implementing background check requirements for child care workers.
“As we work to make sure childcare is affordable, we must also ensure that it’s safe and that parents have peace of mind about who is watching their children,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Right now, too many states have been slow to implement the criminal background check requirements that are already in place under the law, including interstate checks. Our Child Care Protection Act would change that, and today the HELP Committee voted unanimously to move this bipartisan legislation forward. Working together, we will help states make the improvements necessary to ensure a high-quality childcare workforce and a safe environment for every child.”
“States are still struggling to fully comply with the work requirements for child care employees,” said Senator Burr. “This commonsense legislation tackles this issue by helping states meet the standards Congress envisioned five years ago. I’m proud to work with my Senate HELP colleagues, including Senator Van Hollen, on this important, bipartisan legislation to give working parents a peace of mind and better safeguard our children.”
When the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program was reauthorized in 2014, criminal background check requirements for child care workers hired by providers who receive federal funding under the CCDBG program were included. Currently, the CCDBG program is the primary source of federal funding for child care assistance.
While 35 states qualified for a waiver to implement the background check requirements through September 2019, only two states are in full compliance. The remaining states were either placed on corrective action plans or issued penalty notices. States are required to be in full compliance with the background check requirements by September 30, 2020. Various state laws have created challenges in implementing the requirements, leading to delayed hiring of child care workers, wasted financial resources, and continued child safety risks.
This legislation will better equip states with ways to address these challenges by creating a task force to identify the problems, develop recommendations and best practices, and provide technical assistance to Federal and State agencies as they continue to implement these requirements.
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