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HELP Committee Unanimously Passes Van Hollen and Burr’s Bill to Improve Safety in Child Care Facilities

December 13, 2019

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.”

 

Background:

 

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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