Faith-based daycare regulation bill nears final hurdle

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill aimed at getting more oversight for hundreds of faith-based daycares that go uninspected by the state.

Committee members voted unanimously Wednesday for the House-passed bill described as a compromise between child welfare advocates and church centers. The bill moves to the Senate floor.

Alabama for years has exempted faith-based daycares from licensure and regulations such as maximum child-to-worker ratios.

The bill requires centers that receive state subsidies to get licensed. Centers that remain exempt would have to provide employees’ criminal histories and proof of safety inspections.

Rep. Pebblin Warren, the bill’s sponsor, said Alabama has a problem with the exempt centers. A 5-year-old in Mobile died last year after being left inside a van at an exempt daycare.