Session of














1Regulating religious child-care facilities; providing for the
2powers and duties of the Department of Public Welfare; and
3imposing penalties.

4The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:

5(1)  A significant number of parents choose to obtain
6child care from religious child-care facilities where
7training, values and guidance that are consistent with the
8religious views and beliefs of the parents will be imparted
9to the child.

10(2)  It is the policy of the Commonwealth to preserve the
11primary right of parents to choose the education, training
12and care of their children.

13(3)  Nonprofit religious child-care facilities believe
14the provision of child care at a reasonable cost to parents
15to be part of their religious mission to assist parents in
16the care and upbringing of their children.

17(4)  Because of the religious nature of such facilities,
18it is the policy of the Commonwealth to refrain from

1subjecting them to unnecessary regulation and undue
2governmental intrusion, particularly in religiously sensitive
3areas relating to the selection of employees, program content
4and guidance.

5(5)  At the same time, the Commonwealth has a duty to
6protect the health and safety of children whose parents
7choose to utilize religious child-care services by assuring
8that religious child-care providers comply with minimum
9health and safety requirements.

10(6)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to balance
11these interests in protecting parental choice, religious
12freedom and child safety at religious child-care facilities
13by enacting the following provisions to govern the operation
14of religious child-care facilities.

15The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
16hereby enacts as follows:

17Section 1.  Short title.

18This act shall be known and may be cited as the Religious
19Child-Care Facilities Act.

20Section 2.  Definitions.

21The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
22have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
23context clearly indicates otherwise:

24"Aide."  An individual who:

25(1)  assists in the provision of care for children at a
26facility, is at least 16 years of age;

27(2)  has had at least 12 hours of child-care orientation
28on facility procedures;

29(3)  has completed general first aid and fire safety
30training; and

1(4)  is directly supervised by a primary caregiver or

3"Caregiver."  An individual who provides child-care services
4to children at a facility.

5"Child care."  Care in lieu of parental care given for part
6of the 24-hour day to children under 16 years of age away from
7their own homes.

8"Department."  The Department of Public Welfare of the

10"Direct supervision."  Oversight of an individual by a
11supervisor who:

12(1)  is onsite;

13(2)  knows the whereabouts of the supervised individual;

15(3)  is responsible for the proper execution of the
16supervised individual's duties, regardless of whether the
17supervisor is physically present with the supervised
18individual at all times.

19"Director."  An individual who:

20(1)  is in charge of a facility;

21(2)  is at least 21 years of age;

22(3)  has completed a program of instruction in general
23first aid training, including instruction in childhood injury
24prevention and infectious diseases; and

25(4)  has had fire safety training and at least 1,040
26hours of experience in teaching or working with children.

27"Filing religious child-care facility."  A religious child-
28care facility other than a nonfiling religious child-care

30"Nonfiling religious child-care facility."  A religious

1child-care facility which provides child care:

2(1)  for children who are two years seven months of age
3and older and who are enrolled in a school which is a
4nonpublic nonlicensed school that has elected to file an
5affidavit as described in section 1327(b) of the act of March
610, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of

8(2)  for children who are two years seven months of age
9and older who are enrolled in before-or-after school programs
10or summer school programs offered by nonpublic nonlicensed
11schools which have elected to file an affidavit as described
12in section 1327(b) of the Public School Code of 1949;

13(3)  to fewer than four children;

14(4)  to children while their parents are on the premises
15during religious instruction or during other youth activities
16sponsored by religious entities; or

17(5)  free of charge.

18"Primary caregiver."  An individual who:

19(1)  is responsible for the daily care of children at a

21(2)  is at least 18 years of age;

22(3)  has had general first aid and fire safety training;

24(4)  has had at least 520 hours of experience in teaching
25or working with children.

26"Religious child-care facility."  A premises:

27(1)  that is operated or controlled or supervised by a
28bona fide church, association of churches or other religious
29body that is exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the
30Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. §

11 et seq.); and

2(2)  in which child care is provided as part of the
3religious mission of the church, association of churches or
4other religious body.

5"Staff person."  An individual who may be counted for
6purposes of compliance with the staff-to-child ratios required
7by this act. The term includes a director, primary caregiver or
8aide and may also include an individual who meets those
9qualifications but does not receive pay for the individual's

11Section 3.  Duties of filing religious child-care facilities.

12(a)  Fire safety requirements.--

13(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall comply
14with applicable State and local fire safety requirements,
15shall adopt a written plan for emergency evacuation, conduct
16a fire drill at least every 60 days and keep a written record
17thereof on file at the facility.

18(2)  The filing religious child-care facility shall
19insure that children are able to evacuate the entire building
20into a public thoroughfare, or to a fire-safe area within two
21and one-half minutes, unless a fire safety expert has
22specified in writing that a longer evacuation time is safe.

23(b)  Compliance with other laws.--A filing religious child-
24care facility shall comply with applicable State laws relating
25to health and safety promulgated by the Department of
26Agriculture, the Department of Environmental Protection, the
27Department of Health, the Department of Labor and Industry and
28the Department of Transportation and shall maintain an approved
29first-aid kit for emergency treatment that is readily available
30to staff.

1(c)  Parental right of access.--A filing religious child-care
2facility shall allow a parent or guardian of a child for whom it
3provides care to have access, without prior notice, to the
4facility during normal hours of operation or whenever the child
5is in the care of a provider unless a court of competent
6jurisdiction has limited the parental right of access to the
7child and a copy of the court order is on file at the facility.

8(d)  Child Protective Services Law.--A filing religious
9child-care facility shall comply with applicable provisions of
1023 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to child protective services),
11including requirements for obtaining criminal background and
12child abuse checks for employees and for reporting child abuse.

13(e)  Staffing.--

14(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall have:

15(i)  One or more persons who hold a current
16certificate of completion of pediatric first aid training
17at the facility when children are in care. The pediatric
18first aid training must include choke-saving and rescue
19breathing techniques.

20(ii)  At least one person at the facility who holds a
21current certificate of completion of training in infant
22and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when a
23child, whose physician has determined that the child is
24at increased risk for needing heart resuscitation, is in
25care at the facility.

26(2)  A filing religious child-care facility shall provide
27one staff person for every four children who are from birth
28to one year of age; one staff person for every five children
29who are between one and two years of age; and one staff
30person for every six children between two and three years of

1age. All children shall be directly supervised by a staff

3(3)  (i)  When children are swimming or wading, the
4filing religious child-care facility shall provide one
5staff person for every child from birth to one year of
6age; one staff person for every two children who are
7between one and three years of age; one staff person for
8every five children between three and six years of age;
9and one staff person for every eight school-age children.

10(ii)  If children are in mixed age groups with no
11children younger than three years of age in care, the
12staff ratio applicable for the majority of children in
13care shall apply.

14(iii)  Parents and adult volunteers may be counted
15for purposes of determining water safety ratios.

16(f)  Staff medical examinations.--

17(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall require
18that all prospective staff persons, prior to employment,
19obtain a medical examination and health statement from a
20licensed physician, certified registered nurse practitioner
21or licensed physician's assistant. The examination shall
22include tests to determine whether the individual is free of
23serious communicable disease that may be spread through
24casual contact and the health statement shall indicate
25whether the individual has any such disease.

26(2)  A staff person who is not free of such disease may
27not be employed or utilized by a filing religious child-care
28facility unless the health statement indicates that the
29individual will not pose a serious threat to the health of
30children in care.

1(3)  The health statement shall be maintained on file at
2the filing religious child-care facility.

3(g)  Child medical examination and immunization.--

4(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall require
5that each child who enrolls in the filing religious child-
6care facility has obtained a medical examination from a
7licensed physician, certified registered nurse practitioner
8or licensed physician's assistant within the 12 months
9preceding enrollment and has obtained age-appropriate

11(2)  A record of the medical examination and immunization
12shall be maintained on file at the filing religious child-
13care facility no later than 60 days following enrollment
14unless the child is exempt from immunization pursuant to 28
15Pa. Code § 23.84 (relating to exemption from immunization)
16and the filing religious child-care facility has written
17documentation of the exemption.

18(h)  Renewal of caregiver training.--A filing religious
19child-care facility shall require that caregivers renew their
20required training on or before expiration of any certification
21for such training, if applicable, or every three years.

22(i)  Affidavit from facility.--

23(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall file an
24affidavit with the department which states the following:

25(i)  The name, address and telephone number of the

27(ii)  The name and address of the religious entity or
28entities that control, operate or supervise the facility.

29(iii)  The name of the director or chief
30administrator of the facility.

1(iv)  That the facility is in compliance with
2applicable Federal and State civil rights statutes.

3(2)  A filing religious child-care facility shall file an
4amended affidavit with the department within 30 days if any
5information contained in the affidavit, which previously was
6submitted, changes.

7(j)  Facility plan.--

8(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall develop
9a written plan outlining its own:

10(i)  Procedures for handling medical emergencies,
11including maintenance of emergency contact information
12for each child in care.

13(ii)  Program of typical daily activities.

14(iii)  Health and safety procedures, including drop-
15off and pick-up procedures and procedures for dispensing

17(iv)  Procedures for food handling.

18(v)  Procedures for maintaining sanitary conditions.

19(vi)  Fee schedules.

20(vii)  Staff qualifications.

21(2)  The plan shall be provided to parents and guardians
22prior to enrollment of their children in the facility.

23(k)  General health and safety maintained.--

24(1)  A filing religious child-care facility shall
25maintain ventilation, temperature, lighting and heat sources
26so as not to endanger the health or safety of children in

28(2)  No child may be exposed to hazardous materials and
29conditions such as toxins and poisons, unprotected electrical
30outlets and firearms.

1(l)  Insurance.--A filing religious child-care facility shall
2maintain comprehensive general liability insurance to cover
3persons who are on the premises. A current copy of the insurance
4policy shall be on file at the facility.

5Section 4.  Time for filing and compliance with qualifications.

6(a)  Time for filing.--

7(1)  A religious child-care facility which operates on
8the effective date of this section and does not qualify as a
9nonfiling religious child-care facility shall file with the
10department the affidavit required by section 3(i) within 90

12(2)  Any other religious child-care facility which is
13required to file under this act must do so at least 14 days
14before commencement of operations.

15(b)  Existing personnel.--The existing director and child
16caregivers of a religious child-care facility which is required
17by this act to file and has been in operation prior to the
18effective date of this section shall be permitted to continue to
19provide child care at the facility under this act, provided that
20these individuals satisfy the requirements for their respective
21duties and obtain required medical examinations and health
22statements within one year of the effective date of this

24Section 5.  Powers and duties of department.

25(a)  Inspections.--

26(1)  The department shall conduct at least one annual
27unannounced visit and inspection of each filing religious
28child-care facility in which care is provided to seven or
29more children. The inspection shall be conducted during
30normal operating hours or at other times when children are

1being cared for at the facility to determine whether the
2facility is in compliance with the requirements of this act.

3(2)  The department shall visit and inspect filing
4religious child-care facilities in which care is provided to
5fewer than seven children as deemed appropriate by the

7(3)  The department shall conduct additional inspections
8of a filing religious child-care facility if it has
9reasonable cause to believe that the inspections are
10necessary to protect the health and safety of children in
11care at the facility.

12(4)  (i)  The department shall conduct an onsite
13unannounced inspection, within 24 hours, excluding days
14that the department has determined a filing religious
15child-care facility is not in operation, upon receipt of
16a complaint alleging an immediate and serious risk to the
17health or safety of a child in care at a filing facility.

18(ii)  Complaints prompting an inspection pursuant to
19this subsection shall include severe injury or death of a
20child in care, allegations of child abuse or conditions
21or practices that create an immediate and serious risk to
22a child.

23(5)  At its first inspection of a filing religious child-
24care facility pursuant to this act, the department shall
25provide the facility with a copy of this act.

26(b)  Enforcement of substantial compliance.--

27(1)  Whenever, upon visitation and inspection, the
28department finds that a filing religious child-care facility
29is in substantial noncompliance with this act, the department
30shall give written notice to the facility concerning the

1nature of the alleged noncompliance and shall direct the
2director or chief administrator of the filing religious
3child-care facility to comply with this act.

4(2)  If substantial compliance does not occur within 30
5days of the date of the notice, the department may thereafter
6institute appropriate legal proceedings in the court of
7common pleas of the county in which the filing religious
8child-care facility is located to enforce substantial

10(c)  Emergency closure of dangerous facilities.--

11(1)  If the department finds that conditions exist that
12pose an immediate and serious risk to the health or safety of
13children in care at a filing religious child-care facility,
14the department shall take immediate action necessary to
15protect the children.

16(2)  The department may also apply to the court of common
17pleas of the county in which the filing religious child-care
18facility is located for immediate injunctive relief,
19including removal of children from the facility or closure of
20the facility. In such case, the department shall bear the
21burden of proving that conditions exist that pose an
22immediate and serious risk to the health or safety of
23children in care that necessitate the relief requested.

24(d)  Filing fee prohibited.--The department may not charge
25filing religious child-care facilities a fee for filing the
26affidavit required under section 3(i).

27Section 6.  Autonomy of religious child-care facilities.

28(a)  Program and selection of personnel and children.--The
29department, any other governmental agency, political subdivision
30or other governmental entity may not attempt to exercise

1authority over the program, curriculum, ministry, teaching or
2instruction offered in a religious child-care facility. Nor
3shall any such governmental entity attempt to exercise authority
4over the selection of children who enroll in a religious child-
5care facility.

6(b)  Other laws preempted.--

7(1)  The department shall not have any authority over
8religious child-care facilities, except as specifically
9provided for in this act.

10(2)  An ordinance, rule, regulation or other requirement
11of a political subdivision which purports to regulate a
12religious child-care facility is preempted and superseded,
13except as provided under section 3(a) or as provided by any
14generally applicable building code or zoning ordinance.

15Section 7.  Other provisions.

16(a)  Voluntary compliance.--

17(1)  A nonfiling religious child-care facility may
18voluntarily become a filing religious child-care facility by
19filing an affidavit with the department pursuant to section
203(i) and complying with the provisions of this act.

21(2)  Nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent a
22religious child-care facility from voluntarily obtaining a
23certificate of compliance or license from the department in
24lieu of filing pursuant to this act and of complying with
25this act.

26(b)  Public school code affidavits.--A nonfiling religious
27child-care facility that provides care for children who are two
28years seven months and older and are enrolled in a school that
29is registered as, or is part of a nonpublic nonlicensed school
30that files an affidavit as described in section 1327(b) of the

1act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public
2School Code of 1949, shall comply with health and safety
3requirements imposed upon nonpublic nonlicensed schools and
4shall meet the requirements of section 3(g).

5Section 8.  Penalties.

6A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, with
7intent to mislead a public servant in performing his official
8function, the person makes a false statement which the person
9does not believe to be true in an affidavit required to be filed
10by section 3(i).

11Section 9.  Eligibility for governmental assistance.

12(a)  General rule.--A religious child-care facility which
13files an affidavit under section 3(i) and is in substantial
14compliance with this act, shall be deemed an eligible provider
15of child-care services for which Federal, State or local
16assistance is available to parents.

17(b)  Limitation on department.--The department may not submit
18any State plan to the Federal Government for funding of child-
19care services which would limit the ability of filing religious
20child-care facilities to accept certificates, vouchers or other
21forms of disbursement provided to parents for child-care
22services unless such limits are expressly required by Federal

24Section 10.  Effective date.

25This act shall take effect in 90 days.