Upcoming changes to the licensing rules for child care centers and homes

Changes to the Michigan child care law makes child care centers and homes safer for children.

Many Michigan parents rely on childcare services outside their home. Each of the state’s more than 10,000 child care programs are required to be licensed or registered. Upcoming changes to the Michigan child care law, PA 116, will bring more oversight to these programs and provide additional safeguards for Michigan kids in child care programs.

Michigan law requires any person or organization that cares for unrelated children be licensed by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Unregulated child care is against the law. PA 116 provides the “protection of children through the licensing and regulation of child care organizations and for the establishment of standards of care for child care organizations.” This law has recently been amended by Senate bills SB180, SB181, SB182 and SB183. The changes to the licensing process required by these laws will go into effect in March 2018.

Here is a brief summary of the changes that will affect all child care center staff, family home care providers and group home care providers.

  • All child care providers, regardless of the site, will be licensed. This means all family child care homes will be licensed rather than registered. The licensing period will be for two years.
  • The Licensing Division staff will conduct annual visits to all child care sites.
  • All adult household members, child care staff and volunteers with unsupervised access to children must have a comprehensive background check, which includes a check of the:
    • Licensing database for previous disciplinary action.
    • FBI fingerprint check (checks all state and federal crimes).
    • Michigan child abuse and neglect registry.
    • National Sex Offender Registry.
    • Criminal history registry and child abuse/neglect registry for any states of residence in the past five years.
  • Emergency plans for centers will now include a plan for what to do if there is violence at the center.
  • Individuals who file complaints against child care facilities will have legal immunity and the requirement for license holders to cooperate with the investigators has broadened.
  • Training requirements have broadened, including the requirement that all staff must have a current CPR/First Aid card.
  • Temporary operation of a child care center at a different location in case of a disaster will now be allowed under certain circumstances.
  • School-age programs in schools and other government organizations will be required to be licensed and receive annual inspections.

Mark Jansen, Michigan director of the Child Care Licensing Division, has notified child care providers that his division will be able to help pay for some of the background checks. In the newsletter, “Michigan Child Care Matters Special Legislative Edition 2018,” Jansen tells providers they were able to work with the legislature and secure $5.5 million to help subsidize some of the background checks as current licensees. Currently, Michigan is the only state in the union that has offered to assist with the cost of this new federal requirement.

More details about the changes in PA 116 are provided in “Michigan Child Care Matters Special Legislative Edition 2018.”

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