US Senate Update-Background Checks Legislation

Background Checks Legislation Introduced in US Senate
On March 15, Senator Burr (R-NC) reintroduced legislation, S. 581, the “Child Care Protection Act of 2011,” requiring a comprehensive background check for all child care providers. Specifically, the bill: 
  •  Requires a comprehensive background check (fingerprint checks against state and federal records, a check of the sex offender registry and a check of the child abuse and neglect registry) for all licensed, regulated, or registered providers
  •  Makes individuals ineligible to be employed by a child care provider, operate a family child care home, or receive child care subsidies if such individual – 

       o   Refuses to consent to a criminal background check;  
       o  Makes false statements in connection with a background check; 
       o  Is registered or required to be registered on a state sex offender registry; or 
       o  Has been convicted of a violent crime  

  •  Requires complete background checks to be repeated every 5 years
  • States not in compliance will have their CCDBG allocation reduced by 5 percent in the following fiscal year
  • Becomes effective two years after enactment; the Secretary may grant a one year extension if a state is making a good faith effort to comply
The bill has one cosponsor, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), and was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Legislation to Create the Early Learning Challenge Fund Introduced
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced S. 470, the “Supporting Systems of Early Learning Act,” that would establish an Early Learning Challenge Fund to help states build and strengthen systems of early learning. Such systems will help more low-income children ages zero to five have access to high-quality early learning and development opportunities that prepare them for success in school and beyond.
Bill Highlights:

  •  Creates Quality Pathways grants – a 3-year competitive, matching grant to states that demonstrate the greatest progress toward establishing a high-quality system of early learning that includes:
       o   State early learning standards;
       o   Initial and ongoing training for staff;
       o   A systematic review, rating, and monitoring of early learning programs for improvement purposes;
       o   Parental involvement;
       o   Health, disability, and family support services and referrals for participating children;
       o   An early learning data system; and
       o   A process for evaluating children’s school readiness and ensuring their effective transition to a public school system.
  • Quality Pathways grants must be used to place more disadvantaged children into higher quality programs, including allowing grantees to reserve up to 25 percent of their grant for expanding disadvantaged children’s access to quality early learning programs offering full-day, full-year services.
  •  Creates Development grants – a 3-year competitive, non-renewable grant to states that do not qualify for a Quality Pathways grants, but commit to developing a high-quality system of early learning.
The bill was introduced on March 3 with four cosponsors and was also referred to the HELP Committee.

1 Comment

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One response to “US Senate Update-Background Checks Legislation

  1. smallnmighty1

    I think we already do this. But I also think we need to worry more about the unlicensed home childcares than we do licensed. If you are licensed, you already show you want to do the best but the ones that are not (like the 7 in my neighborhood alone) that advertise on craigs list and such just want to break all the rules.