SALT LAKE CITY — Certain exempt providers of child care in Utah, including church groups and some charter schools, are not required to perform or submit background checks to the state or reveal their exempt status to patrons, and a bill is trying to change that.
Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, is backing the bill, SB12, hoping to require exempt providers to become more transparent, giving parents the ability to make a more educated choice on where they leave their children.
Some of the people administering child care in Utah have been found to be felons, according to Christensen.
"Even more disconcerting is that when some of the parents were informed of this, they didn't seem to care," he said.
Christensen wants known criminals to be let go, precluding unfavorable outcomes.
The bill would keep felons and people with some misdemeanor convictions from working in child care.
As it stands, child care organizations that take in fewer than four children, church groups and charter schools, among others, do not have to abide by state licensure rules and regulations. They are not licensed facilities, and while some do perform background checks on their own, they are not required to, nor are they required to inform parents of their status.
"We as a state pay and get stuck with the expenses of child molestation and problems like that when these kids get abused by people who are discovered for what they are, and for a lot of these kids, it doesn't go away," said Rep. Edward Redd, R-Logan.
Redd applauded Christensen's intention with the bill, to prevent "these things from happening in the first place."
Some child care providers spoke in opposition of the bill, saying background checks are costly and the paperwork would burden the state system already in place to verify the documentation of workers.
A representative from the National Association of Family Child Care, based in West Valley City, told members of the House Health and Human Services Committee that "the state's littlest learners deserve the opportunity to have the state's highest quality of care."
SB12 received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the committee Thursday. Email: email@example.com Twitter: wendyleonards