Helpful bill on local parks and recreation programs moves forward

January 29, 2019

VACo supports HB 2280 (Head), which preserves the current status, with respect to state regulation, of child day programs that are operated by local parks and recreation departments and serve school-age children.

In 2017, legislation was introduced that sought to make distinctions among the types of child day programs that are exempt from licensure and to impose certain minimum health and safety standards upon those programs that were deemed to be more akin to child care, while determining that some programs were not child care at all.  The bill treated local parks and recreation programs as part of the former category (to remain exempt from licensure but required to meet certain standards and subject to certain supervision by the Department of Social Services), a classification to which VACo, VML, and the Virginia Recreation and Parks Society objected, arguing that such supervision was unnecessary.  The bill became entangled in a larger debate about the treatment of day programs operated by religious institutions, and was ultimately vetoed by then-Governor Terry McAuliffe.  A revised version of the bill passed the legislature in 2018, but with a delayed enactment date of July 1, 2019.

HB 2280, which was heard in subcommittee last week and reported from the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee on January 24, returns local parks and recreation programs, as well as certain programs operated by local school divisions, to the category of programs not considered to be child care (those programs receiving federal Child Care and Development Block Grant funds would remain subject to any federal rules regarding licensure), similar to participation in sports leagues or limited-term instructional programs for school age children.  The parks and recreation programs would remain subject to safety and supervisory standards established by the local government, as they are today.

HB 2280, which VACo spoke in support of during the subcommittee hearing, is now on the House floor.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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