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Bill passed to require federal background checks for Utah child care workers

Published: Wednesday, March 13 2013 1:25 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Individuals who apply for child care licenses in Utah will be subject to an additional background check, thanks to a bill that passed through the Senate on Wednesday.

HB165 amends protocol to include not only a statewide criminal background check, but also an FBI fingerprint check to determine whether crimes have occurred in other states.

Sen. Peter Knudson, R-Brigham City, who co-sponsors the bill, said 30 states require both and 28 require only the state criminal record in order to obtain a license to provide child care.

More than 6 percent of more than 68,000 nationwide applicants annually, he said, have a criminal record that includes serious sexual offenses, assault, drug crimes and other "serious" crimes. Forty-one percent have committed crimes in a state other than where they applied for a license, Knudsen said.

With supporting votes from the House and the Senate, HB165 now goes before the governor. The bill carries a nominal fiscal note of less than $5,000.

"It's a small price to pay to ensure children's safety," Knudsen said.

Utah's approximately 1,300 existing child care providers would not be subject to new background checks.

Wendy Leonard

Twitter: wendyleonards

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