State lawmakers consider tougher background checks for daycares

11:09 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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State lawmakers are considering a plan to close a glaring loophole in the law that could potentially allow convicted felons to work in daycare centers.

The state House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill requiring federal background checks for employees at daycare centers.

The current law only requires daycare employees to undergo a state background check which would likely miss felony convictions for crimes committed outside Georgia.

"I'm very concerned that there may be people working in our facilities right now with criminal pasts," said Bobby Cagle, the director of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

If the bill passes, new employees would be required to undergo a federal background check beginning in 2014. Existing employees would have until 2017 to comply with the law and get fingerprinted.

Cagle estimates the federal background check would cost $50 per employee. Cagle says the cost of fingerprinting and the background check would be paid for either by the daycare center or the prospective employee.

The Department of Early Care and Learning estimates there are roughly 30-thousand daycare workers in the state.

The bill now goes to the state Senate for a potential vote.


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