Recent tragedies where children have died under the care of unlicensed daycare providers have prompted the General Assembly to pass measures to strengthen Virginia’s licensing guidelines.
Delegate Bob Orrock's bill would require licensed home daycare providers to be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. His bill also lowers the requirement for licensure from 6 children to 5. A Senate version leaves it at 6, but counts the provider's own children. Orrock says some proposals have been far-reaching.
"The issue in some of the bills we've seen would have had EVERY entity or every home that kept even one child for compensation would have to be licensed. Then you're starting to get into, ok, is that talking about babysitting, is that talking about neighbors watching kids when they get off the bus in the afternoon as the block mom as it were."
Orrock says this is way too important not to reach a compromise. He says the alternatives would either force people to pay much more for childcare or resort to leaving them unattended, which is even more dangerous.
One version of the legislation is now in a conference committee, which will try to reconcile differences between the House and Senate.