Feds propose stronger child care standards

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“Many children already benefit from the excellent care of high-quality child care providers who are meeting or exceeding the proposed requirements,” department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

“However, too many children remain in settings that do not meet minimum standards of health and safety. These basic rules ensure that providers take necessary basic steps to shield children from an avoidable tragedy.” 

The department's 199-page proposal would require that providers receive background checks, are monitored on-site and complete health and safety training. 

It also mandates that states set up websites to tell parents about different child care providers, their licenses and possible past violations, which would cost state agencies about $2 million, the department estimates.

The funding program disburses monthly subsidies to more than 500,000 providers across the country to care for children in low-income families, half of whom are living at or below the poverty level. In fiscal 2012, it made more than $5.2 billion available to states, territories and tribes.