Excerpted from gloucestertimes.com story by Christian M. Wade
Workers at summer camps, preschools and day care centers that get federal grants may soon need to be fingerprinted and subjected to national criminal background checks.
A plan filed by Gov. Charlie Baker expands background check procedures for the Department of Early Education and Care to comply with new federal rules, which require a check on the National Sex Offender Registry.
“Massachusetts does not currently meet these requirements, which puts the state in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding,” Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, told a legislative committee on Tuesday. “This is a sweeping change affecting a substantial number of people.”
Baker’s plan would actually exceed the new federal rules by requiring checks for employees at state-licensed residential programs, as well as adoption and foster agencies.
In March, Congress authorized more than $5.2 billion in federal funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program — $2.37 billion above fiscal 2017 levels — but included requirements for background checks who those who work with children.
Weber said Massachusetts gets about $277 million a year through the block grant, which funds roughly half of his department’s budget. In order to acquire federal grants for child care providers, the state must update its background check process by Sept. 30.
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