New GAO Report on Potential Fraud and Abuse of Child Care Development Fund Highlights Serious Weaknesses in Background Check Verification

September 22, 2010
Report

Findings Strengthen NACCRRA’s Position in Requiring Comprehensive Background Checks
For All Child Care Providers

Arlington, VA—September 23, 2010— A new report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that at least five states lack effective controls to verify backgrounds of relative child care providers. GAO identified several cases in which fictitious parents and relatives providing child care defrauded the Child Care and Development Fund by falsifying eligibility documentation and social security numbers to obtain payment for child care services that were never provided. The report also shows that six states did not require providers to be fingerprinted or undergo site visits, but received more than $100 million in CCDF funding for fiscal year 2009.

The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) recommends that Congress require all paid child care providers, who regularly care for unrelated children, to undergo a comprehensive background check. Currently, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the law that allocates funds to states for child care, does not require a background check for child care providers. NACCRRA found that only 10 states require a comprehensive check: a fingerprint check against state and federal records as well as a check of the state child abuse registry and sex offender registry.

“As depicted in the latest GAO report, the reauthorization of the CCDBG is long overdue,” said Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. “All states should be required to demonstrate how they execute comprehensive background checks. It is the only way to eliminate abuse of the CCDBG and ensure that convicted felons are not licensed and paid to care for children with federal funds.”

NACCRRA has been actively involved in efforts to require states to complete comprehensive background checks and improve the overall quality of child care. Legislation is currently pending in Congress to require background checks including fingerprints. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has introduced S. 2903, the Child Care Protection Act; Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) has introduced H.R. 3287, the Child Care Accountability and Responsibility Act (the CARE Act), and Representative Andre Carson (D-IN) has introduced H.R. 3315, the Child Care Criminal Background Check Act.

“Today, the law leaves it to the states.” Smith said. “Congress must make the reauthorization of the CCDBG a top priority in order to protect all children, ensure safety and provide the highest quality of child care.”

To read the complete GAO report, click here.

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NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 800 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high quality, affordable childcare. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about NACCRRA and how you can join us in ensuring access to high-quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.