Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill into law requiring childcare workers to undergo comprehensive, fingerprint-based background checks.
Deal signed House Bill 350 Wednesday at a school in Macon. The law is aimed at preventing those with a prior felony conviction from working around children.
Current law requires only the director of a childcare facility to pass the more comprehensive check. Additionally, only state background checks were required for childcare workers, which allowed people with felonies in other states to work in Georgia's childcare programs. Under the legislation, all employees will have to pass the check before being eligible to work at a licensed childcare facility in the state.
A childcare professional told CBS Atlanta News on Wednesday that the state needs a new law.
"You don't want someone with a criminal record working in your school," said preschool director Joanne Hauserman.
Parents familiar with the new law are surprised that fingerprint-based national screenings were not required before now.
"Any step to protect our kids is a good step," said Trish Hoff, a concerned parent.
The new law is expected to impact more than 6,000 childcare employees working in the state.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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