A new bill addressing requirements for background checks for day care employees (HR 3986) has been widely supported following recent tragedies in Iowa. The Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2019 seeks to address obstacles in respect of background checks for day care employees who are in receipt of funding from the CCDBG (Child Care Development Block Grant) and that committed, professional and quality professionals are being employed. Over the past 18 months certain Day care centers in Iowa had been warned about exceeding numbers. Reports in The Des Moines Register confirm criminal charges have been filed in 2 infant deaths, in relation to the third case charges are being considered. Iowa has 4,300 day care centers that are regulated while home day care is unregulated.

An unresponsive child was found on February 15th at the home of a couple (Michael Damon Mazza, 49 and Trina Jae Mazza, 47,) who operated an unregistered day care. The couple are also accused over the theft of more than $163,000 from Mr Mazza’s mother. Asides from the infant’s death charges are forgery, first degree theft and four counts of dependant adult abuse. Mrs Mazza also faces charges of operating an unlicensed day care center (serious misdemeanor). In November a judge was requested to bar the couple from accessing any savings or bank account tied to the dependant adult and that financial accounts be frozen. Mrs Mazza was not registered and was providing day care to seven children. According to court documents previous complaints had been received by the DHS in March 2011 and September 2017 of providing care for over 5 children at any one time contrary to Iowa law which requires registration if caring for 5 or more children.

The background checks for day care employees initiative also ensures qualified childcare providers can enjoy the fruit of their labors that they have worked towards. Parents and guardians should also have confidence that their children are well cared for and under the watchful eye of law abiding citizens. The interstate proposal helps fix background checks for day care employees across state borders. A seamless background check across states has been particularly challenging with the absence of any streamlined process. In certain States legal restrictions bar entities from out of state wishing to carry out a background check. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 1990 was reauthorized in 2014 by Congress which saw wholesale changes. Over 75% of pre school infants attend early care and education prior to kindergarten.

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