LANSING, Mich. — Today, by a unanimous vote, the Senate passed a package of child care legislation that includes a bill introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor).

Senate Bills 180-183 would update Michigan’s Child Development and Care program to meet federal safety standards to receive additional funding for child care.

“The primary goal of this legislation is to keep our children safe,” Sen. Hopgood said. “Today’s vote is an important step toward accomplishing that goal, and as a result, children across our state will grow and thrive in secure, prosperous environments.”

Senate Bill 180 requires self-reporting by a child care employee charged or convicted of certain misdemeanors or felonies, along with a criminal background check. Senate Bill 181 updates legal definitions and requires annual inspections of child care facilities. Senate Bill 183 provides sentencing guidelines if a child care provider does not comply with the newly implemented laws.

Sen. Hopgood’s bill, SB 182, requires Michigan child care providers to apply for a state-issued ID in order to receive state-subsidized child care payments. The ID application process would help minimize fraudulent activities, increase accuracy of information, expedite background checks, and promote compliance with state and federal child care licensing laws.

“Updating our child care licensing requirements will help make it easier for parents to find high quality child care providers,” Sen. Hopgood said. “It will also help remove fraudulent, or potentially dangerous, providers from the system.”

The federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 provides approximately $16 million to the State of Michigan to help update child care licensing laws, bringing them up to par with federal guidelines.

Under this legislation, parents would be able to search the State of Michigan website for state-subsidized child care providers, including helpful metrics, such as licensing inspections reports, corrective action plans and license expiration dates.

Michigan’s handling of child care oversight has faced tough scrutiny over the last few years after the Michigan Office of the Auditor General revealed that approximately 1,900 “unsuitable” child care providers were authorized to receive state-subsidized child care payments. This included alleged child abusers, documented sex offenders, convicted criminals and individuals who were found to be neglectful.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for a vote.