If you follow the news, then you’re aware of the growing number of daycare-related child abuse and neglect stories that circulate in the media. Children who manage to slip out of daycare homes undetected; children who are sexually assaulted by family members of the daycare operators; children who aren’t properly cared for while their parents are at work. The list seems to go on and on…
Why did Michigan daycare centers have so many issues?
The problem, it seems, was a lack of oversight. Daycare centers weren’t being properly checked, and daycare providers weren’t being checked out well enough. But recent legislation changes plan to address these issues. Senate Bills 180 – 183, sponsored by state Senators Tonya Schuitmaker, Dave Hildenbrand, and Hoon-Yung Hopgood, were recently signed into law by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
What has been done to solve the problem?
The new laws address a few very specific issues that pertain to child safety, including:
- All child care licensees, staff, volunteers, and household members are now required to undergo criminal background checks, including fingerprinting.
- Certain convictions in a person’s criminal history, like sex offenses and certain violent convictions disqualify individuals from working at a daycare.
- The state is now required to complete annual inspections of all licensees, most of which will be unannounced.
Criminal background checks for everyone who’ll be in contact with the children, along with increased increased inspections will go a long way towards increasing the safety of Michigan’s children. Additionally, Public Acts 256-259 of 2017 will bring Michigan’s licensing provisions for child care facilities up to meet new federal standards, while reducing administrative burdens on the providers. It also makes Michigan eligible to continue receiving $4 million in federal funding.
How do these new laws work?
Under the new laws, a child care facility’s chief administrator or program director has to be fingerprinted by both the state police and the FBI. This also applies to any staff members working there. Before, fingerprints only had to be submitted to the state police.
Daycare directors now also have to report to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) within three business days if they, or any one of their employees, have been charged or convicted of certain crimes. These crimes include any kind of child abuse crimes (felony or misdemeanor), and Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, which is the category used when a victim is under the age of 13. Failure to report would be a felony charge.
Do you need help from a Michigan child abuse defense attorney?
Although these laws are put in place to protect children, which is extremely important, daycare workers need protection too. Daycare providers and their employees are sometimes the subject of false accusations by parents, neighbors, and others. They need to have their jobs and families protected, and their rights defended.
If you or a loved one have been accused of neglecting, abusing or molesting a child, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled and experienced child abuse defense attorneys can help you work through this difficult time, and prepare you for what lies ahead.