Louisiana seeks more time to implement new criminal background checks for child care workers

BATON ROUGE -- State officials said Wednesday they expect to get an one-year extension in their overhaul of criminal background checks for at least 16,000 employees of licensed childcare centers.

The new rules stem from a 2014 federal law.

They are supposed to be in place by Sept. 30.

But Jenna Conway, assistant state superintendent for early childhood education, said the state has sought, and expects to get from the federal government, a one-year extension to implement the requirements.

Under current rules, individual directors of childcare centers and Head Start leaders are responsible for their employees undergoing criminal background checks. The federal law will put the state Department of Education in charge of overseeing the checks, and makes those reviews more comprehensive.

The reviews will include fingerprint searches with the FBI as well as checks with the National Sex Offender Registry, Louisiana Sex Offender Registry and the Louisiana Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.

In addition, job applicants will face background checks in previous states where they worked.

Once employees are cleared for work, approval would be good for five years. Those certifications are open ended now. FULL ARTICLE