Finding a daycare is a challenge for many working parents. After all, choosing childcare not only means finding an option that their family can afford and is convenient, but is also the best choice for their child’s safety. Because of this, advocates in the state of Virginia are trying to make the last consideration a little easier: several new bills could strengthen daycare provider laws, hopefully saving many children from accidents and abuse.
Over the last ten years, 54 children in Virginia have died while in the care of an unlicensed daycare. To make matters worse, these children were mostly infants, and their deaths were wholly preventable. There are believed to be a number of factors contributing to this problem: for example, state law currently does not require childcare centers to be licensed until there are six unrelated children in the home.
Fortunately, a total of 22 bills have been introduced to the State Senate and House of Representatives to change these problems. So far, initiatives include reducing the number of children in an unlicensed daycare center from six to three, mandatory fingerprinting, stricter background check requirements, and tougher penalties for daycare providers who don’t comply with these stipulations. Advocates say they hope lawmakers will take the best ideas from these different bills to help create better childcare resources in the state.
If successful, any one of the bills could have a significant impact on childcare in Virginia. New laws would affect private daycares, corporate childcare solutions, and daycares that are currently unlicensed. Some parents may even discover that their current childcare options are less safe than they had originally thought. However, these changes could make finding a daycare center in the area that is safe and trustworthy much easier than it has been in the past. Does your state have requirements designed to help protect your children while they are at daycare? Research the laws in your area, and the providers who claim to follow them, today.