Lakewood Sen. Mike Carrell has scaled back a measure that originally would have required licenses for all day-care providers who take public funding for more than a year.
The Republican chairman of the Human Services committee eliminated that key provision in his bill this week. The surviving proposal has been moving along with little opposition and today passed its last hurdle before reaching the Senate floor.
The proposal now directly targets child-care providers who knowingly take money they are not entitled to. They would be reminded about the rules after a first violation and be cut off from subsidies after a second violation.
State auditors flagged nearly a third of subsidy payments to licensed day-care providers in fiscal 2011 as overpayments or questionable — and flagged 92 percent of payments to unionized but unlicensed providers such as relatives, friends, neighbors and nannies.
Carrell said the suggestion of limiting unlicensed status had come from the state Office of Fraud and Accountability within the Department of Social and Health Services.
“Listening to testimony and so on, I didn’t feel that was necessary,” Carrell said. “If they screwed up and they’re not defrauding the state of Washington, it’s appropriate to say, hey, look, this is what you should be doing. … We’ve got to make sure we’re not being overly restrictive.”