Fingerprints Adding to the Cost of Daycare

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The state wants parents to feel more assured when they drop off their children at daycare centers.

Governor Rick Perry just signed legislation that would mandate all child-care centers in the state to conduct fingerprint background checks on all employees.

Tashia Dickerson, who owns and operates the SonShine Station, says she is in favor of it.

"It's going to be more like an insurance policy," Dickerson said. "You know, we already do the criminal background checks, but this is even a more thorough one to ensure you're hiring somebody safe."

Current backgrounds checks on daycare workers are based on an applicant's name and social security number and cost child-care facilities about $2. Now, by adding fingerprints as part of a background check, that cost jumps to $50 for the initial check.

On top of that, the state is requiring the subsequent checks on daycare employees conducted every two years to now also include the fingerprint checks.

Dickerson says the new mandate will mean an increased strain on budgets.

"You may have to budget it in a little more," Dickerson said.

As a result of the new law, it is possible the cost could be passed on to parents relying on daycare, many of whom say no price is too high for their child's safety.

Bremond mother, Ashley Davidson says the more in-depth probe could keep parents' minds at ease.

"I think it'll make them feel comfortable leaving them with the daycare," Davidson said.

Heidi Farnsworth is the mother of a four-year-old, and says nowadays, parents need all the assurance they can get despite the cost.

"Fifty dollars is nothing," Farnsworth said. "Fifty dollars is worth my child, knowing that my baby's going to be secured."

Katie Jensen, the mother of a baby girl, says the new law could possibly prevent the wrong people from coming into contact with kids.

"If you're a felon, then people should know you're going be working with children and hopefully that can be avoided," Jensen said.

The state will require fingerprint background checks beginning September 1. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said they will be mailing out postcards notifying child-care centers of the new law in the coming weeks.