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Bill: Background checks required for N.J. private residence care providers

Jersey Family Day Care ImageThe New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee has unanimously approved a bill that will require those who run family day care centers from their private residences to undergo criminal record checks. The bill applies to all family day care providers, which is defined as someone who is providing childcare for three to five children from a private residence for more than 15 hours per week. These care providers do not have to be registered with the state, though if they register with the Division of Children and Families, they become qualified to benefit from certain state programs such as the Child Care Food Program. The bill will require care providers to pass criminal background checks in order to register — or renew their registration — with the DCF. The DCF will also have the authority to determine if someone with a previous conviction has been rehabilitated satisfactorily, and may therefore be allowed to offer in-residence care again, provided the conviction was not for assault, abuse or crimes against children. N.J. Senator Shirley Turner sponsored the bill. Sen. Turner recognizes constituents’ need for these small care providers, and wishes to ensure that children and families are protected. “Given their small size and informal operations, we have been appropriately wary of creating too many rules and regulations” for these small family care centers, Turner said. “But helping ensure these providers don’t have a criminal history is a common-sense requirement that protects children and gives families much-needed comfort.” Now that the bill has passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, the bill will go to the Senate floor for further approval. photo credit: Jason L. Parks via photopin cc]]>

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