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.
The Committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development in the Senate will be holding a public hearing on the new waiver legislation (SB 642) this Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:10 am in Capitol room 411 South (updated room). Last week, the Assembly Committee on Children and Families heard testimony on the same bill. Providers from across the state joined WECA at this hearing to show their support for the bill. Do you have a response to this new legislation? You can make a statement at the hearing or send Senator Jauch, the chairperson of the Committee, a written statement either in favor of or in opposition to the bill.
Representative Tamara Grigsby and Senator Kathleen Vinehout created this new waiver legislation (AB 887 and SB 642) to change the caregiver background check law, or Act 76, in a variety of ways. According to Representative Grigsby, this bill will “address the most burdensome impact of Act 76, those individuals who have lost or surrendered their licenses due to a financial based crime or public assistance fraud. This bill would allow those individuals whose crimes were committed more than 5 years prior to go through the Department of Children and Families’ rehab/review process and request consideration for reinstatement of their license.”
Since it was enacted in November 2009, and went into effect on February 1, Act 76 (or the caregiver background check law) has been met with mixed reactions from the child care field in Wisconsin. See our previous blog post for more information on Act 76.
Representative Tamara Grigsby, one of the original co-sponsors of the law, has created NEW waiver legislation (AB 887 and SB 642) that would change Act 76 in a variety of ways. First, it would remove permanent child care bars for providers and their non-provider residents who committed certain serious property crimes, background check violations, and public assistance fraud. These crimes would instead ban an individual from providing care for 5 years after the date of the conviction, sanction, or adjudication. Second, it would allow non-provider residents who have not been permanently barred to prove that they have been rehabilitated and/or that they are not a threat to the children receiving care at the residence. Click here to view the full waiver legislation.
The Committee on Children and Families in the Assembly will be holding a public hearing on the new waiver legislation this Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10 am in Capitol room 415 Northwest. Do you have a response to this new legislation? You can make a statement at the hearing or send Representative Grigsby, the chairperson of the Committee, a written statement either in favor of or in opposition to the bill.
According to Representative Grigsby, this bill will “address the most burdensome impact of Act 76, those individuals who have lost or surrendered their licenses due to a financial based crime or public assistance fraud. This bill would allow those individuals whose crimes were committed more than 5 years prior to go through the Department of Children and Families’ rehab/review process and request consideration for reinstatement of their license.”
The Unity Caucus and Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) recently announced a child care summit in part to address concerns that the child care community has raised in response to changes in background checks, Wisconsin Shares, and quality ratings. According to a press release sent from Senator Taylor’s office:
“The summit will offer advice ranging from how to open a day care center to questions about receiving micro-loans. In addition, information about Wisconsin Act 76, the recent changes to the Wisconsin Shaves Program, will be shared and discussed…The event seeks to teach individuals the inner workings of an audit and what one must do during the procedure. Questions will also be answered about any possible issues or concerns one might have about child care centers and how to use the proposed YoungStar system.”
Experts will be available to answer questions and will include Secretary Reggie Bicha, Joyce Mallory (executive director of the Malaika Early Learning Center), a representative of Jo’s Daycare Academy, and attorney Felicia Miller Watson.
The summit will take place on Saturday February 27th between 9 am and 1 pm at the Greater New Birth Church, 2207 West Center Street. For more information, you can contact Senator Taylor at 608.266.5810.