Last Thursday, November 5th, the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly unanimously passed SB331, a bill that was created to increase safety and decrease fraud within child care programs. The bill includes legislation that 1) requires much more frequent criminal background checks for child care providers, 2) bans individuals convicted of certain crimes from holding a child care license, working in a child care facility, or living in a family child care home, and 3) require the Department of Children and Families to suspend a provider’s license if they are charged with a serious crime and revoke the licensed if the provider is convicted of the crime. The bill also includes whistleblower protection for government employees who reasonably suspect that fraud is occurring/ has occurred within Wisconsin Shares.
WECA believes that all children should have the opportunity to be cared for in a safe and nurturing environment. We support the emphasis on improving safety in child care programs within SB331 including more frequent and supportive monitoring of child care programs and ensuring provider accountability. We are concerned, however, about the financial burden that this bill places on programs as they, their employees, and family members (for family child care providers) are required to participate in much more frequent background checks (see story). Many child care programs, who are already caring for children safely, have limited resources and may need to sacrifice other aspects of quality care in order to pay for these background checks.
What do you think the outcomes of this bill will be? Post a comment and let us know what your opinion of SB331 is.