Advertisement

Virginia expands background checks on day care workers

(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 26, 2017 at 5:59 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

UPDATE (March 1):

All Virginia day care workers will have to undergo fingerprinting for a criminal background check after state lawmakers passed a bill intended to make sure the state doesn't lose out on federal funding.

House Bill 1568 was designed to expand '

,' a bill passed in 2015 in honor of Camden Lafkin, who died when she was just three months old in May of 2012, while in the care of an unlicensed in-home childcare provider in the Shenandoah Valley.

That law changed the requirements for child-to-provider ratios for unlicensed providers, as well as required licensed providers to be fingerprinted in a database starting in July of this year. The new bill requires unlicensed and license exempt providers who accept subsidies as tuition to do the same.

"Because anybody can fake a name-based background check, and you can't fake a fingerprint background check. You can't hide alias names. You can't hide a lengthy criminal history under alias names as was the case with our childcare provider," explained Elly Lafkin, Cami's mother and co-founder of The Cami Campaign.

Child care providers will have to undergo the fingerprinting by the end of September. Previously, workers at churches and small, home-based centers not licensed by the state weren't included in the requirement.

Supporters said the change brings child care protections up to speed, but opponents called it government overreach.

The state had faced losing millions in federal funding if the requirement were not enacted. But a sunset provision means the legislation expires next year unless lawmakers take further action.

_____

Lawmakers in Richmond are considering an update to '

' to help keep your children safer.

Camden's Law was passed in 2015 in honor of Camden Lafkin, who died when she was just three months old in May of 2012, while in the care of an unlicensed in-home childcare provider in the Shenandoah Valley.

The law changed the requirements for child-to-provider ratios for unlicensed providers, as well as required licensed providers to be fingerprinted in a database starting in July of this year.

You can learn more about the local effort to pass that bill

.

A new bill, HB 1568, would require unlicensed and license exempt providers who accept subsidies as tuition to do the same.

"Because anybody can fake a name-based background check, and you can't fake a fingerprint background check. You can't hide alias names. You can't hide a lengthy criminal history under alias names as was the case with our childcare provider," explained Elly Lafkin, Cami's mother and co-founder of The Cami Campaign.

In the investigation after Cami's death, it was revealed the provider had criminal records under multiple aliases, something Laflkin says a fingerprint cannot hide.

Another bill set to be heard Friday morning in the senate (SB 1239) would require licensed exempt facilities to display a sign saying such, as well as other regulations including having a CPR-certified adult with each group of children as well as notification to the Department of Social Services of the facility.

Lafkin says to many legislators, these are more than just bills.

"Seeing in their face and in their eyes that they get it, this isn't just a law. This is more than just statistics, and numbers and asking for extra regulations. These are real lives, these are children who have lost their lives," added Lafkin.

For more information on The Cami Campaign, visit their Facebook page at

and for more information on childcare in Virginia visit: http://childcareva.com/.