Updated: October 10, 2019 06:33 PM
Created: October 10, 2019 06:10 PM
GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — Big changes are coming for local daycare centers and providers.
Among them, a regulation that all current employees go through a background check process again. While there doesn’t seem to be a downside to re-checking backgrounds from a safety standpoint, providers tell News10NBC there may be some unintended consequences for parents.
Susan Johnson has been a licensed in-home daycare provider in Greece for 13 years.
“Watching kids has been awesome for me because I've been able to raise my own children as a single parent and to be home with them," said Johnson. "Then I stayed with it because I love the kids."
Johnson and many others in her profession are concerned about new state regulations, one of which requires all employees to be re-finger printed so a federal background check can be run in addition to the state background check.
The regulation sounds good, the more we know about the people who spend their days around our children the better, but Johnson and several other daycare directors who spoke with News10NBC say they're worried it could cause more delays. Backgrounding processes already takes 3-4 weeks.
Also, until now new employees could at least begin training, but under the changes, they’re not even allowed in the building until their background checks are complete.
Providers say caregiver positions aren’t the highest paying jobs and there is already a shortage of quality people interested. If they tell those who are hired they have to wait a month to start earning a paycheck, they fear they’ll walk.
“Every week I get calls (from parents) and I have to turn them away because I don't have any availability,” said Johnson. “It’s a lot on a daycare provider, I know several in the area, three that just quit recently because of these new regulations, they’ve had enough.”
The Child Care Council is trying to help centers and providers navigate through the changes as best as possible.
“They just have to go through a few more hoops,” says Barbara-Ann Mattle, the CEO of the Child Care Council.
There are also other regulation changes surrounding inspections. Parents will also have to provide a doctor’s note if they want their baby swaddled and don’t bother bringing any comfort items from home.
"The state comes down with these regulations, but do they do this job?" questioned Johnson. " We're on a personal level with these parents, they interviewed us, they come in our house on a daily basis, they know our family and I have to tell a parent, yea, I can't put them down with their blanket because the state tells me I can’t."
The new background check requirements were included in the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant which is administered by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Care. State legislation was enacted on April 1 of this year authorizing the state Office of Children and Family Services to implement the requirements mandated under the federal act.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for OCFS tells News10NBC:
“The federal requirements represent a significant change for providers within a short time frame. To prepare providers for the Sept. 25 effective date, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services has implemented a comprehensive awareness campaign for providers, which included informational letters, an online training, and FAQs. Several regional meetings are also planned to share information and answer questions.”
“I worry that, the harder this job gets to be with these regulations, the more providers are going to quit and when the providers quit, where are these families going to go?” wondered Johnson.
Mattle says the Child Care Council will do everything it can to make sure that doesn’t happen,
"We hope that all the people who are in the business, stay with it because we want to keep all our providers that are active," commented Mattle. "We need them, parents need childcare, there's never enough of it. We want more people to get into the business.”
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