Federal health officials are going to propose that federally funded child care centers across the country beef up their safety standards. This would include background and fingerprint checks for employees and require states to better monitor the facilities.
There are roughly 1.6 million U.S. children that attend child care centers on subsidies from the federal government. The health, safety, and program quality requirements vary widely from facility to facility. The proposed changes are a part of a broader agenda by President Barack Obama to ensure health and safety across all early learning environments.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that the new rules would increase accountability among the child care providers. It would also force states to comply with the standards set in place in order for them to receive any federal funds.
Anyone working in one of the government funded facilities would undergo fingerprinting and background checks. They would also be required to receive training in first aid, CPR, safe sleeping for babies, and poison prevention. The state would be held just as accountable as the workers. Each state would be required to conduct unannounced, in-person inspections at each child care center.
Many parents mistakenly believe that their child care facilities are already following these measures. Officials want to be able to better inform families about each facilities’ track records. The proposed rules would require all states to post licensing, health and safety inspection records online.