03.15.11

Burr Introduces Child Care Protection Act of 2011

Legislation requires comprehensive background checks for all child care providers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), along with U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), introduced the Child Care Protection Act of 2011. 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 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 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 legislation allows parents to be confident that their children are being taken care of by qualified individuals 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 2011 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.