Washington, D.C. — This week, Representative Lucy McBath (GA-06) introduced H.R 3986, the Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2019 to address barriers in completing background checks for childcare providers who receive funding through  the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Representatives Van Taylor (TX-03), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Fred Keller (PA-12), and Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) joined McBath in introducing this bipartisan measure.

“We must do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children. Families deserve to know their kids are being cared for by qualified providers,” said McBath. “I want to applaud my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together to keep our children safe, set them up for educational success, and ensure our qualified childcare providers have access to the opportunities they’ve worked so hard for.”

“Parents should be able to take comfort in knowing their children are safe and well cared for while they are away at work or school,” said Taylor. “I'm proud to support this commonsense legislation which aims to give families who depend on childcare services confidence in those entrusted to care for their children.”

“I am heartbroken to hear the stories of children dying at child care facilities across Iowa. No parent should ever have to endure these avoidable and unacceptable tragedies,” said Axne. “As a Mom, there is nothing harder than leaving your baby in the care of a provider. We need to take every precaution possible to ensure that parents are confident that they are leaving their children in the hands of safe, law abiding citizens.”

“This bill helps states fix problems with conducting criminal background checks on childcare workers across state lines,” said Keller. “I’m glad to work across the aisle to ensure that states are communicating to keep our kids safe and provide the best quality childcare.”

“Iowa families deserve to know that their children are receiving quality care in a safe environment,” said Finkenauer. “That is absolutely non-negotiable. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that will make it easier for states to conduct background checks on childcare providers.”

The Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2019 would create an inter-agency task force to identify barriers in background check completion and recommend best practices to overcoming them. Interstate background checks have been particularly challenging with no streamlined processes for conducting background checks across state lines. In 2014, when Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 1990, it made substantial changes to the law, including adding background checks to ensure that child care centers receiving federal dollars are employing quality professionals. In some states, legal roadblocks prevent out-of-state entities from conducting background checks.

More than three-quarters of preschool-aged children attend some form of early care and education before reaching kindergarten. Research shows that the quality of early care programs has significant impact on a child’s future development. When children attend safe, high-quality early care and education programs, they develop the skills that help them succeed in school and in the future.