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Indiana Legislators consider child care bill

Today’s post is a message from the staff of our Child Care Answers program.

Dear Friends, We know that Early Childhood issues are important to you. It is our goal at Child Care Answers to keep you informed on issues that affect Indiana’s youngest children.

Did you know that currently there is a bill being reviewed by the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate that relates to safety in Child Care? To review a grid that has the details of the bill please visit here.  Here is a summary of SB56/HB1226, Child Care Regulation Standardizing Certain Health and Safety Requirements in Child Care. During the interim 2010, the Committee on Child Care identified areas of inconsistency in the basic health and safety requirements for child care providers as required by the State of Indiana. After a thorough review, the committee reached unanimous consent on the items contained in SB56/HB1226. Other provisions—such as staff/child ratios and fire code compliance were desired by many members of the committee but are not included in the bills as introduced by Sen. Holdman as SB56 and by Rep. Lehman as HB1226.

What the SB56/HB1226 does:

  • Standardizes basic health and safety requirements for the staff, physical site, health and nutrition, including drug testing and policy, national criminal background checks for directors (not all staff), training in CPR, first aid, universal precautions and child abuse and neglect, hot and cold running water. Makes this consistent in the Indiana Code.
  • Provides registered ministries the same recourse for assistance by the Bureau of Child Care as provided to homes and centers when issues are identified. (Currently, the Bureau has no recourse but to request the Attorney General close a registered ministry.)

SB56/HB1226 does not address religious content. The bill in no way addresses religious curriculum or programming for registered ministries or faith-based child care. This bill in no way affects Sunday School, Vacation Bible School or part-time programs that are not considered child care (Mothers’ Day Out, Part-time Preschools, etc.). Currently SB56 has been assigned to the Health and Provider Services committee and HB1226 has been assigned to the Family, Children and Human Affairs committee. The Senate Health and Provider Services members are Senator Miller, Mishler R.M., Becker, Charbonneau, Gard, Grooms, Leising, Breaux R.M.M., Rogers, and Simpson The House Family, Children and Human Affairs members are Representative Noe, Yarde II, T. Brown, Culver, Davisson, Foley, Messmer, Rhoads. Summers R.M.M., Bartlett, Day, Klinker, and Riecken.

If you have an opinion about the bill it is important that the members of the committees hear from you this week so that they can make an educated decision based on what the voters want. The Senate has a hearing scheduled for the bill next Wednesday, February 16th but the House has yet to set a hearing. You can email the members of the committees your thoughts here. You can subscribe to news from the Child Care Answers’ Legislative Education Center to keep you up to date on the issues that relate to children in our state by following this link.

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