Alabama lawmakers again consider church daycare regulations

Feb 2, 2018

By The Associated Press

Alabama lawmakers are holding a public hearing on legislation that would allow the state to inspect church-affiliated day cares.

The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee on Tuesday will discuss the proposal to allow the inspections at least once yearly. The centers would also have to submit insurance proof and the names of workers and their criminal histories.

Alabama for years has exempted faith-based facilities from licensure and regulations such as maximum child-to-worker ratios. Nearly half of the 1,914 day cares in the state claim the religious exemption.

Exempt centers have come under increasing scrutiny after recent incidents.

A 5-year-old in Mobile died last year after being left inside a van. Eighty-six children were sickened in 2015 at a Montgomery facility after eating food that had been left out overnight.

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2 comments on “Alabama lawmakers again consider church daycare regulations

  • @OP – Alabama lawmakers are holding a public hearing on legislation that would allow the state to inspect church-affiliated day cares.

    This is not an issue specific to the USA:-

    Ofsted chief attacks Church for preventing inspections of Sunday schools

    Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector, said it is a “matter of regret” that the Church of England blocked changes to the law that would have allowed out-of-school provisions to be inspected.

    She called on ministers to update legislation and give Ofsted more powers to scrutinize settings where children are educated outside of school hours, in order to protect them from being indoctrinated by extreme religious views.

    Speaking at the Church of England’s Foundation for Educational Leadership annual conference, Ms Spielman said Ofsted must be able to inspect out-of-school provisions – such as Sunday schools and Bible clubs – so that “the small minority of settings that promote extremism are not able to evade scrutiny”.

    “There are segments of particular faiths who are determined to use our schools to promote beliefs and practices that are an anathema to British values,” she said.

    “If we are to tackle this practice effectively, we will require changes to legislation to give us better powers.”

    “But some other out-of-school settings operate less benignly,” she warned. “These institutions, some of which operate as illegal schools, use the opportunity to – in the words of the former Prime Minister – put ‘poison in the minds, hatred in hearts’ of young people. They need to be tackled.”

    She took aim at the Church’s role in preventing this, as she recalled how a government plan to require all groups caring for children for more than six hours a week to submit to inspection was dropped in 2016, following an intervention from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and a group of crossparty MPs

    Those “faith” groups and their tribalistic stooges, really, really, really, DON’T want supervision of their contacts with trusting children!

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  • Various UK governments having spent years undermining the state LEA system and promoting “independent” and “faith-schools”, so the present government has now noticed that there is a problem – but might not actually get around to doing anything about it!

    Ministers are promising new measures to crack down on illegal schools, including new powers for Ofsted to seize evidence and question witnesses.

    A new legal obligation for schools to register will be created “as soon as possible” under the proposals.

    The move follows concerns some ultra orthodox Jewish and Muslim children are being denied a basic education.

    Ofsted currently struggles to gather evidence to prosecute people running illegal schools.

    Both the current Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, and her predecessor Michael Wilshaw, have told the BBC they needed stronger powers.

    A recent BBC investigation highlighted frustration about the lack of legal powers and loopholes in the law.

    By the end of January this year a specialist team of inspectors had uncovered 176 places it said were operating as schools but were not registered.

    England’s Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the government wanted to ensure all children learned “the values that underpin our society, including fairness, tolerance and respect”.

    “These are values that help knit our communities together, which is why education is at the heart of this strategy.

    “It’s also important that children are taught in a safe environment and that we can act quickly if children are at risk or being encouraged to undermine these values. Together, with Ofsted and communities across the country, we will build on the work already underway to achieve this.”

    However, a lack of parliamentary time means this might not happen before the next election.

    And without greater legal clarity it might still prove difficult to bring prosecutions even with stronger powers for Ofsted.

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