Alabama lawmakers are holding a public hearing later today on legislation that would allow state officials to inspect church-affiliated day cares.
The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee will discuss the proposal to allow state inspections of church-affiliated day cares at least once per year. The centers would also have to submit proof of insurance as well as the names of all workers and their criminal histories to the state.
For years, Alabama has exempted faith-based facilities from licensure and regulations such as maximum child-to-worker ratios. Nearly half of the almost 2,000 day cares in the state claim the religious exemption.
Exempt centers have also come under increasing scrutiny after recent incidents. A 5-year-old in Mobile died last year after being left inside a van. Two years ago, 86 children were given food poisoning at a Montgomery day care facility after eating food that had been left out overnight.