New legislation is on the way that could ramp up background checks for military daycare facilities. According to the Fay Observer, a pair of United States Senators is sponsoring the bipartisan bill, which is known as the Military Child Protection Act of 2016. The two senators—North Carolina's Richard Burr (a Republican) and California's Barbara Boxer (a Democrat)—are hoping their efforts can give military servicemen and women better peace of mind when it comes to the care of their children.
Typically, military bases and installations have daycare programs where military parents can drop off their kids before reporting for duty. The daycare programs allow military servicemen and women to make sure their children are cared for without having to arrange or pay for babysitters.
Burr and Boxer see a problem with the military daycare programs, though, in that there isn't a consistent and unified policy for how employees are vetted. The two senators want a comprehensive legislative requirement that mandates all military child care facilities in the country to screen their employees in the same way. The bill would also set forth rules for how the daycare facilities would have to respond with different criminal convictions.
The Military Child Protection Act of 2016 does not include a completely new plan for how daycare centers should run employee background checks. Instead, the legislation would transpose the background check requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Act of 2014 and apply them to military daycares. Currently, the Block Grant Act requires daycares that received federal funding to run employee background checks.
The 2014 law also restricts child care facilities on who they can hire in light of certain background check findings. Individuals cannot work in these daycares if they have been convicted of homicide, domestic abuse, assault, arson, kidnapping, crimes against children (including abuse, neglect, and child pornography), and any drug offenses from the last five years. If passed, the Military Child Protection Act of 2016 would bring the same laws into effect for daycares actually operating on military installations.
Frankly, it doesn't make much sense that these requirements aren't already enforced for military daycares. According to the Fay Observer piece, the Department of Defense "runs the largest employer-sponsored child care system in the nation." If the government requires daycares to run background checks and be selective in hiring in order to get federal funding, why wouldn't the government demand the same hiring standards for the massive daycare system they operate?
Evidently, Burr and Boxer have similar questions. Inspired by a 2012 incident where a four-month-old child died at a Virginia military base, the two are pushing for safer Department of Defense daycare programs. Military parents, undoubtedly, will appreciate the efforts.