Licensing Rules For Child Care Centers Approved

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's top school board has given final passage to new licensing rules for day care facilities, Head Start centers and preschool programs around the state.

         The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education agreed without objection Wednesday to the package of regulations, a day after a board committee spent hours hearing debate on them.

         Lawmakers required the Department of Education and the board to rework the licensing guidelines as part of an early childhood education overhaul started in 2012 to better prepare children for kindergarten.

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         The new regulations set minimum staffing ratios and training requirements for employees. They add fingerprint-based criminal background checks for the facilities' workers and volunteers.

         State health and safety agencies, the education department and leaders of child care centers spent more than a year negotiating the requirements.

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