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New regulation on day care workers, background check must be done before starting work

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FARGO — A new federal regulation set to take effect in two months, has area child care centers "scrambling."

The new employees will no longer be able to work with the kids until their background check is complete.

At the YMCA, just over 250 workers teach the 2,500 kids at their area child care centers, and when they hire a new worker, that worker can typically start right away under the eyes of a supervisor. But not anymore.

"The fact that their background check has to be complete before boots on the ground with the kids," said YMCA employee Kari Uzzle.

The day care centers have no problem with background checks. It's the new regulations, the waiting period, waiting for fingerprints to get checked and processed.

"On a rare occasion, staff can take months for the background checks to come back, depending on how many states they've lived in,' said Uzzle.

"That puts us in a heck of a pickle," according to Garry Cochran of the ABC Sandcastle Child Care Center.

And smaller child care centers, like Cochran's ABC Sandcastle, fear they may have to turn away parents and kids, because the new rule does not allow them to bring new workers on right away, leaving them short-staffed.

"We could lose good people and it is hard to get good people to work in the field anymore. So when you find a good one, you want to hold on to them," Cochran said.

Even though this is a new federal rule, it'll be the states and counties that enforce it, despite their concerns about the impact on local child care centers.

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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