Washington, DC — Today, the Senate unanimouslypassed legislation introduced by Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06). H.R.3986/S.2683, the Child Care Protection Improvement Act, was previously approved by the House with an extended timeline for the task force established in the bill. Led in the Senate by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and with changes having been approved by both chambers, the bill heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. This is the second bill led by McBath to be sent to the president’s desk this week.  

“Parents and families across our nation deserve the comfort of knowing their kids are receiving the best possible care. We must do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children,” said McBath. “I am incredibly proud that this bill is becoming law, and I want to applaud my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers, 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 to achieve.”

“As our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, child care centers and workers have had to adapt and balance increased demands and challenges,” said Sen. Van Hollen. “Providing a safe environment for these caregivers and America’s children is crucial. Right now, too many states experience delays or roadblocks when implementing the critical criminal background checks required under the law to keep our children and workers safe. The bipartisan action we’re taking today will help close this gap and ensure our children are in good hands. I urge the President to sign this bill into law immediately, and I will continue pushing for child care that is safe and affordable for all American families.”

H.R.3986/S.2683 addresses 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.

The Child Care Protection Improvement Act creates 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.