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Sebelius shared the stage Thursday with Elly Lafkin, a Virginia woman whose 3-month-old baby died in the care of a woman who had hidden a criminal past by using aliases.
Such tragedies, Sebelius said, “finally provide momentum for stronger regulations and more safety standards. States have not stepped up to fill the gap.”
One proposal that would affect Minnesotans is a requirement that child-care providers pass criminal background checks that will compare their fingerprints against national criminal databases. The state currently does not require a fingerprint check, Dunkley said.
Sebelius’ proposal also calls for annual, unannounced day-care inspections. In Minnesota, inspections now generally occur every two years and, in many counties, in-home providers know their inspection dates because the inspector communicates with them in advance.
The new requirement will also make it easier for parents to review a provider’s compliance history. It will include a hot line for parents to report problems and will require states to post inspection reports and other licensing data online. In Minnesota, inspection reports for in-home providers have not generally been posted online, making it difficult for parents to identify problem facilities. The state is taking steps to improve online records access, but the federal proposal would require all states to post such records on a user-friendly website for both in-home day cares and larger, center-based facilities.
The federal proposal was posted online Thursday and will undergo a 75-day public comment period. Officials could not say Thursday when the final rules would take effect.
Brad Schrade • 612-673-4777 Jim Spencer • 202-383-6123