Virginia backs off making day care workers speak English

Virginia backs off making day care workers speak English

Fairfax County officials had said they worried the English requirements would have forced some day care centers in the county to shut down. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — Virginia has backed off a proposal to require that only workers who speak English be left alone with children at day cares across the state.

New language added to the proposed regulations Dec. 20 instead requires that any caregivers left alone with children at day cares where parents are eligible for state and federal subsidies “be capable of communicating effectively both orally and in writing as applicable to the job responsibility and be capable of communicating with emergency personnel.”

Fairfax County had raised concerns about the original regulations proposed by the Board of Social Services in June. Those regulations would have required a level of fluency in English “sufficient to understand the regulations and communicate with emergency service personnel, parents and children, the department and local department personnel.”

Officials with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said they worried the requirement could shut down a number of day cares across the county.

The regulation had been under review by the governor’s office for months. It is part of an overhaul of state Child Care Subsidy Program requirements meant to ensure federal child care funding continues to flow to the state.

If the regulations are approved, there would then be a public comment period before the rules can take effect.

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