Burr Introduces Child Care Protection Act of 2009

Legislation will require comprehensive background checks for child care providers

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), along with U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), introduced the Child Care Protection Act of 2009. 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 leave their children in the care of someone else, they want to know their children are in a safe place," Burr said. "Current requirements for 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 bill will reassure parents that their children are being taken care of by qualified individuals in a safe environment."

Requirments 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. As of December 2008, only 25 states conduct a federal and state fingerprint check and only 15 states require a check of sex offender registry. Under this legislation all states will be required to complete comprehensive background checks for child care providers and to repeat those background checks 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 80 percent of parents assumed that child care providers must have a background check to work with children.

"When working 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 added. "Parents should be able to rest easy knowing that their child care provider does not have a criminal record with a history of violent offenses."