Federal legislation that’s been in place since 1990 gives money to states that they then distribute in the form of vouchers to parents who are working full time and are going to school to help them pay for child care.
A bill that’s been introduced in the Senate would require any centers receiving federal dollars to conduct background checks on all staff.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, cites a poor safety record in Indiana as one of the reasons he’s supporting the bill.
“As many of you know, we’ve had some extraordinary tragedies in our state,” Donnnelly says. “We have, since 2009, 31 children have been lost at Indiana day care centers.”
Tim Dunnuck is the director of early childhood education services at Indiana University Bloomington.
He is in charge of five centers on campus that serve students, staff and faculty at IU.
He says centers that accept vouchers must already be licensed with the state but the regulations vary depending on the type of the facility.
“For example the difference between licensing requirements for day care centers like the ones we have on campus are much more stringent than the licensing regulations, for example, for a day care home or a registered ministry,” Dunnuck says.
Legislators at the state level are considering similar measures. A bill that’s expected to pass the state legislature would create additional nutrition and safety standards and would limit the number of children a single staff person could oversee.