(TRENTON) – The Assembly Women and Children Committee released on Thursday legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Elizabeth Muoio and Pamela Lampitt to require family day care providers and certain household members to undergo criminal history record background checks.
“It is imperative that anyone who has access to young children in a family daycare setting should undergo a criminal background check,” said Muoio (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “This crucial change in current law will address a gap and will now help keep them safe.”
The bill (A-4262) provides, that by October 1, 2017, and as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a family day care provider certificate of registration, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is to require the following persons to undergo a State and federal criminal history record background check:
- each prospective or current family day care provider;
- any assistant provider, substitute provider, or alternate provider of the prospective or current family day care provider; and
- any household member of the prospective or current family day care provider, who is 18 years of age or older.
“When a parent enrolls their child in a family daycare, it is assumed that all persons who are working or around the children were vetted via background checks just like at any other school,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington), who is chair of the committee. “This legislation puts in place the necessary protections for our children.”
The bill specifies that DCF may not issue a certificate or renewal of registration to a prospective or current family day care provider, and is to revoke the existing registration held by a current family day care provider, as the case may be, if the provider, or any other person, identified above:
- refuses to consent to, or cooperate in, the securing of a criminal history record background check;
- knowingly makes a materially false statement in connection with a criminal history record background check;
- is registered, or is required to be registered, on a State sex offender registry or repository, or on the National Sex Offender Registry established under the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006,”; or
- is found by a criminal history record background check to have a record of conviction, either in New Jersey or in another state, for any of the crimes and offenses enumerated in the bill.
Under the bill, if the criminal background information indicates a disqualifying conviction, the DCF would be required to provide written notice to the family day care provider, the family day care sponsoring organization, and the person who was the subject of the criminal background check (if the person is someone other than the provider).
The family day care provider, or other person with disqualifying convictions, would have 14 days after the date of such written notice to challenge the accuracy of the criminal history record information. If no challenge is filed, or if a challenge is denied, the commissioner would be required to notify the family day care sponsoring organization that the family day care provider’s registration has been denied or revoked on the basis of disqualifying criminal history record information.
The bill will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.