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New law requires national background checks of day care workers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A new Indiana law will require national background checks and fingerprinting for all day care workers

“I think it’s necessary. You want to know who is working with your children and who is around your children and who is around your kids on a day to day basis especially when you are not with them,” said Tia Smith.

“Well first of all, I would rather know if a person has something in their background that I need to know about,” said Kidz Kompany Director and Owner Bettie Williams.

Parents and day care workers agree that House Bill 350 will benefit children in South Bend.

The bill requires national fingerprint background checks for all day care employees, which many parents say are long overdue.

“Personally I thought that at any job they give you a background check especially at a place like this,” said Samanta Morales.

As it is, day care centers do require background checks, but they are only for the state of Indiana, which Williams says is a major issue fixed by this new law.

“We always do a criminal history check but it is only for the state of Indiana so whatever happened in another state, we would not know anyway,” said Williams.

While the law does go into effect today, day care centers do have a year to get all of their current employees fingerprinted.

Williams says even with the $48 charge to her employees, it has been an easy task getting them fingerprinted.

“All have been fingerprinted, except 2 more people that need to go,” said Williams.

Parents say that fee is well worth their peace of mind.

“You want to know if there is somebody that has a history of criminal offenses or sexual offenses or anything like that,” said Smith.

Williams says she only has one problem with the new law.  The background check results will not be released directly to the day care owner. Instead there will be a case manager who will notify centers of any employee discrepancies.

Williams fears that if the case manager is too busy, the results will come back much later and she would prefer to handle any issue immediately.

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