State lawmakers are planning to debate a bill that would require all day care facilities to be licensed and end a longstanding exemption for church-affiliated day cares.
The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill later this morning.
VOICES for Alabama's Children, a nonprofit advocacy organization, says Alabama is one of only seven states that exempt faith-based day cares from state regulation. VOICES Executive Director Melanie Bridgeforth says the bill is aimed at protecting children.
Barry Spear, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, says the department supports the bill. There are currently 998 licensed day care centers, and another 943 exempt centers in Alabama.
The bill does specify that the state would not be allowed to interfere in religious teachings of licensed centers.