Another Public Hearing for Child Care Waiver Law

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.”

Public Hearing for Child Care Provider Waiver Bill

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.”

Waiver Process in Response to Child Care Criminal Background Check Law

Since it was enacted in November 2009, Act 76 (or the caregiver background check law), has been met with mixed reactions from the child care field in Wisconsin. The bill- created to increase safety and decrease fraud within child care programs- went into effect February 1, 2010 across the state. 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) 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. The bill was passed unanimously in both houses.

When the bill was originally drafted, the list of crimes that would result in a permanent ban from the field was small and included first/second degree reckless or intentional homicide, kidnapping, and armed burglary. During the legislative process, several amendments were approved and additional crimes now carry a permanent ban for licensees or certified providers only. These crimes are broad and include identity theft, felony forgery, felony retail theft, and felony cable theft. As a result, some providers in the field are losing their licenses for nonviolent crimes that they committed many years ago (see article here). DCF has stated that, as of now, 31 licenses have been revoked or surrendered because of Act 76.

Representative Tamara Grigsby, one of the original co-sponsors of the bill, is currently in the process of creating waiver legislation that if passed would allow providers who are affected by Act 76 to apply for a waiver from DCF under certain circumstances (especially for financial related crimes that currently hold a permanent bar). There will hopefully be a public hearing on this legislation by the end of March. Click here to watch Representative Grigsby discuss this issue on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here and Now series. Keep checking our blog for updates on this waiver bill.