Friday, May 13, 2011

Peace of mind for parents, less paperwork for daycare providers

Did you know that child-care worker applicants are only fingerprinted if they have not lived in Washington for at least three years? That’s right; everybody else gets a standard background check when applying for a child-care position.

And there’s nothing wrong with a statewide criminal background check, but fingerprints are run through FBI databases nationwide that can pick up not only criminal convictions, but also child safety related violations, a person’s history outside of Washington, and issues related to aliases or changed names.

Wouldn’t it be good to run both of these checks on people that will be taking care of your children?

Child-care advocates think so, and have spent the last 16 years pushing for more safety measures. This week they finally saw their efforts paid off when the governor signed House Bill 1903. The new law requires that all first-time child-care applicants get both fingerprinted and go through a state criminal history background check.

Rep. Tina Orwall , who sponsored the bill, said that this legislation will give parents more peace of mind knowing that their children really are in safe hands, and that it will also streamline the process for child-care providers.

She explained that instead of requiring providers to go through the standard background check every single time they move to a different facility, the new law will let them take their fingerprint and background check certificate anywhere they work within the state for a period of three years.

“By making the fingerprint and background check individual-focused instead of location-focused, we’re increasing safety, reducing costs and improving efficiency,” Orwall said.

For more information on this bill, go here.