A new COVID-19 relief bill contains a provision loosening rules for child care facilities. Some advocates are concerned about a lack of oversight during the coronavirus pandemic.
The main focus of House Bill 1105 is the distribution of remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds.
But one provision also makes changes to child care facility licensing requirements. It expands options for remote learning centers to include community-based organizations such as local YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs.
According to the bill, no background checks for employees will be required, and reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases to health officials won't be mandatory.
A proposed amendment would have put these safeguards in place but was set aside for the final version.
Democratic Representative Julie von Haefen tells The News & Observer these are “huge loopholes” that allow for “more child care with less parameters.”
Republican Representative Jim Perry supported the provision expanding child care and remote learning options, saying it addresses the few choices now available to parents in rural areas.
Perry says he's willing to revisit the legislation when lawmakers reconvene.