Early Learning Bill Introduced in Congress

On November 13, 2013 Senator Tom Hawkins, Congressman George Miller, Congressman Richard Hanna, introduced the “Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2013 in the Senate and House. 

The bill introduction in both the Senate and House express that children and families should have access to affordable, and quality early learning experinces.  There are far too many families that do not have access to quality early learning opportunities.  Many families have a hard time getting quality early learning expeirence for their children as well. 

The bill would establish federal and state partnerships to provide the tools necessary for parents to access quality programming for preschool, for all low-to-moderate income children.   These efforts would allow children to enhance thier school readiness.  The bill would also make funds avaliable for grants to help states improve the current quaility of exsiting programs. 

For an in depth look into this bill visit Child Care Aware of America (National Policy Blog). 

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Answers to Common Questions on National Criminal History Checks

Below are some common questions on the new state required national fingerprint criminal history checks.

Q: Who has to get a national criminal history check?

A: This law applies to all regulated child care providers including licensed centers, licensed homes, unlicensed registered ministries, unlicensed homes receiving CCDF payments and unlicensed centers receiving CCDF payments.

For each provider type the applicant, all child care employees and volunteers, and household members that are at least 18 years old (for licensed child care homes and unlicensed child care homes receiving CCDF only) are required to get a national criminal history check (fingerprint check).

Note: The law defines “volunteer” as anyone who does unpaid work in your child care program for 8 or more hours each month. If you have either employees or volunteers that are under the age of 18, these individuals must have a Juvenile Criminal History Check completed by following the instructions online at: http://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/4182.htm

Individuals who are present in the child care program less than 8 hours a month are considered “guests”. Guests are not to be left alone with children and they are not counted within the staff to child ratios.

All cooks, janitors, and similar employees of the child care program must be fingerprinted because they are staff members with access to children.

Q: My child care program is within a larger agency- for example within a school, a church, a Community Action Program or a YMCA. Do all of the employees of the larger agency also have to get these fingerprint checks?

A: No. When determining if other volunteers and employees of larger agencies need to have criminal background checks for your child care program you will need to consider the role that the individual plays:

  • Does this person provide care for the children; are they counted in your staff to child ratios or left alone with children? If yes, the individual must have a background check.
  • Does the individual volunteer within the child care program more than eight hours per month? Yes, this individual must have a background check.
  • Is this person the applicant on your child care registration, application, or license? If yes, this person must have a background check.

If you have any questions about specific circumstances or individuals within your larger agency please contact your licensing consultant, registration consultant, or CCDF inspector as appropriate. They know your program best and can help you determine which individuals are required to have a check.

Q: What if I have already been fingerprinted for another purpose or through another organization- can I use this check to meet the requirements of new laws?

A:
Those individuals who are required to have a national fingerprint background check must be fingerprinted through the approved vendor (L1), the fingerprints must be used to conduct a check of the national FBI database and the results must be sent by the Indiana State Police to the Bureau of Child Care. There are other vendors that conduct national background checks; however, most often these are either checks based only on a name (not fingerprints) and/or the checks have not been run through the national FBI database.

If you have recently been fingerprinted for a national background check for another purpose (such as your organization requires a background check), we will not be able to accept these past checks. However, in the future, we recommend that you speak to your other organization about alternatives. For example, as the individual on whom the search was conducted, you may request the results of your check and can choose to share this copy with your organization. BCC cannot release the results of the checks to any organization or individual, but each individual has a right to request a copy of his or her own results. Instructions for requesting the results of a check are posted online at http://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/4182.htm.

Q: If I hire a new employee after July 1, 2013, do they have to have national criminal background checks?

A: Yes, individuals who begin working or volunteering on or after July 1, 2013 must have the national background check completed.

 

For more  FAQ’s and information regarding the new state requirements, visit BCC’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Info About New Child Care Laws on BCC Website

The Bureau of Child Care has informed Child Care Answers that the BCC website (www.childcarefinder.in.gov) has been updated to include important information and resources concerning the new child care laws.

  • Changes to Child Care Laws Effective July 1 – linked at the top of our home page under “Bureau of Child Care Updates.” This page contains a summary of the new laws, a schedule of teleconference/webinar information sessions for providers, and copies of the information packets that were mailed to providers on June 1. These information packets are at the bottom of the page.
  • Presentations and Answers to the FAQs on the New Child Care Laws – linked at the top of our home page under “Bureau of Child Care Updates.”  This page contains the PowerPoint presentations used in the teleconference/webinar information sessions and answers to the Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQ is updated regularly as new questions come in.
  • Provider Fingerprinting Services  – linked on the left side of our home page under “Provider Resources”. It has been updated to reflect the new law.

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White House Releases State-by-State Early Learning Fact Sheets

Earlier this week, the White House released state-by-state fact sheets to as part of the Administration’s Early Learning plan to increase access to high-quality early childhood education. The state-by-state fact sheets include the number of first-year federal funding for the Preschool for All program, the required first-year state funding match, the number of children that would be served by the program in its first year, the number of children, from birth through age 3, that are currently served by CCDF, the first year federal funding amounts for expansion of the home visiting program, and statistics detailing the specific estimated expansion of home visiting in each state. To find information on how the Administration’s Early Learning proposal would impact your state, click here.

From: Child Care Aware of America

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CCDBG Reauthorization

Following the introduction of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013 last week, Senator Mikulski provided more background on the CCDBG Reauthorization bill, which can be read here.  While the Senate is waiting to take up consideration of the bill, Child Care Aware of America says that it’s time to urge your Senator to cosponsor the bill. Click here to email your Senators and urge them to cosponsor this important bill to protect the health and safety of children across America. Click here to read their blog post to learn more about CCDBG Reauthorization.

From: Child Care Aware of America

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**BREAKING NEWS** CCDBG Reauthorization Bill Introduced in Senate

**BREAKING NEWS**
CCDBG Reauthorization Bill Introduced in Senate
to Improve the Quality of Child Care in America

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have introduced a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the primary federal grant program that provides child care assistance for families and funds child care quality initiatives. Child Care Aware® of America supports the measure, S. 1086, “Child Care Development and Block Grant Act of 2013,” which would reauthorize the program for the first time since 1996.

Under the Reauthorization Bill, states would be required to ensure that all child care providers who care for CCDBG funded children:
• Receive health and safety training in specific areas
• Receive comprehensive background checks (including fingerprints, checks of the sex offender and child abuse registries)
• Receive on-site monitoring

This bill includes many measures to improve the quality of child care and ensure that all children in child care settings are safe. It is time to protect children in child care and promote their healthy development.

We welcome your feedback with regard to the proposed reauthorization bill. If you would like to discuss any component of the bill, please contact Nick Vucic at Nick.Vucic@usa.childcareaware.org. You can read Child Care Aware of America’s  press release here.

Source:  Child Care Aware of America, June 4, 2013

 

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New Indiana Legislation Reminder

Be sure to look for an email and follow up letter from consultants at the Bureau of Child Care within the next week regarding the new child care legislation that has passed in Indiana.  The new laws will take effect on July 1st, 2013.
If you have any questions, the Bureau of Child Services will be hosting several teleconferences and webinars to further explain the new laws. Instructions and a list of the conference dates can be found here.

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