Receive Licensing Updates as they Occur!

This past year has brought several legislative changes impacting child care providers in a variety of ways. In August 2009, the Jalen Knox-Perkins day care van alarm bill went into effect. This law mandates that a child safety alarm be placed in the rear of certain child care vehicles (see our previous blog post here). Act 76, or the caregiver background check law, went into effect February 1, 2010 across the state. The act 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) requires the Department of Children and Families to suspend a provider’s license if they are charged with a serious crime and revoke the license if the provider is convicted of the crime (see our previous blog post here). In response to these laws, the Department of Children and Families will be releasing a newly revised set of rules for all child care providers in June.

To receive immediate, electronic notice when this newly revised regulation summary is released, and to receive notices about any future changes that affect the child care field, sign up here to join the Bureau of Early Care Regulation’s email list. Select “regulation and licensing memos” to receive emails notifying you to visit the Department of Children and Families website each time a new memo describing regulation and licensing changes is published (see previously released memos here). Providers will continue to receive paper copies of these memos each time there is a change, but the department is encouraging interested parties to sign-up for emails in case these memos are only distributed electronically in the future.

Child Care Safety Alarm Law to go into Effect

On August 1, 2009, the Jalen Knox-Perkins day care van alarm bill will go into effect. This bill mandates that a child safety alarm be placed in the rear of certain child care vehicles. This requires a driver to physically move to the back, while checking to make sure all children have exited, to disarm the device. Under this bill a child care vehicle is defined as one that can seat 6 or more passengers in addition to the driver, is either owned or leased by a child care provider, and is used to bring children to and from child care. Alarms must be installed by August 1, 2009 (see the notification from the Department of Children and Families here). You can read the full text of the bill here.

One safety alarm vendor present at a public hearing estimated that the alarms cost between $200 and $350 with installation. DCF has created a list of potential vendors who carry alarms that may meet the requirements in the bill. The list can be found here. DCF does not endorse any of these vendors and states the it is the child care provider’s responsibility to make sure that the alarm that they choose is acceptable.

Providers who do not comply with the law can be charged with a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail. An amendment to the bill, offered by Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee), allows for a maximum $10,000 fine and up to three and half years in jail to anyone who turns off an alarm without first checking the vehicle for children.