Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), along with Senators Mikulski (D-MD),Hatch (R-UT), Rubio (R-FL), Bennet (D-CO), and Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Child Care Protection Act of 2013. This legislation requires comprehensive background checks for child care providers including state and federal fingerprint checks, sex offender registry checks, and a check of child abuse and neglect registries for all licensed, regulated, and registered child care providers.
"When parents enroll their children in child care they shouldn't have to worry that they might be dropping their child off to be cared for by someone who has been convicted of a violent crime," Burr said. "Currently, background checks do not meet parents' expectations, and most states fail to ensure that child care providers have undergone a complete and thorough background check. This legislation allows parents to be confident that their children are being taken care of by qualified individuals in a safe environment."
"When a parent goes to work or to school they should have peace of mind and know that their little boy or girl is in a safe and healthy environment," Senator Mikulski said. "As a social worker, I've seen the permanent scars that child abuse and neglect leaves on both the child and their family. The Child Care Protection Act will help protect our children through prevention, intervention and deterrence of child abuse."
"Parents deserve the right to know that when they're dropping their children off at a child care provider that they'll be in a safe environment," said Senator Hatch. "This bill is an important step forward to give parents the reassurance that their child is at a safe facility that has undergone detailed and thorough background checks, and as a father, grandfather, and great grandfather, I think it's a responsible step to ensure that our youth are in a safe situation when at one of these facilities."
"There are a lot of sick people out there preying on innocent children, and this measure will help prevent these individuals from securing child care jobs where they can do the most damage," Senator Rubio said. "Protecting kids and giving parents greater peace of mind that they are being cared for in safe environments by qualified professionals is a cause that should unite all of us."
"As parents, we want to know that our kids are safe and in good hands when we drop them off at child care," Senator Bennet said. "This bill will give parents more peace of mind by bringing the vetting process for child care providers up to the standards that we expect for our children and help ensure that they're in a safe environment."
Requirements for background checks vary greatly from state to state and only a handful of states require child care providers to complete a comprehensive background check. Although a recent survey found that 95% of parents with children under the age of 5 support background checks for child care providers, only 10 states currently conduct a full criminal background check that includes a fingerprint check of state and federal criminal records, a check of child abuse and neglect registries, and a check of the sex offender registry. The Child Care Protection Act of 2013 would require such comprehensive background checks for child care providers and require those background checks be repeated once every 5 years.
More than 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care arrangement every week while their parents work. A parent survey conducted by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) found that 85 percent of parents assumed that child care providers must have a background check to work with children.