The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill aimed at getting more oversight for hundreds of faith-based day cares that currently go uninspected by the state.
Committee members voted unanimously yesterday in favor of the bill, described as a compromise between child welfare advocates and church centers. The measure has already passed the House and now moves to the Senate floor for debate.
For years, Alabama has exempted faith-based day cares from licensure and regulations such as maximum child-to-worker ratios. This bill would require that receive state subsidies to get licensed. Centers that remain exempt would still have to provide employees' criminal histories and proof of safety inspections.
Rep. Pebblin Warren, the bill's sponsor, says Alabama has had problems with the exempt centers. A 5-year-old in Mobile died last year after being left inside a van at an exempt day care, and dozens of young children were hospitalized in Montgomery in 2015 after getting food poisoning at an unlicensed day care.