2006 Regular Session

To: Public Health and Welfare

By: Senator(s) Gordon

Senate Bill 2609



     SECTION 1.  Section 43-20-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-20-5.  When used in this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

          (a)  "Child-care facility" means a place that provides shelter and personal care for six (6) or more children who are not related within the third degree computed according to the civil law to the operator and who are under thirteen (13) years of age, for any part of the twenty-four-hour day, whether that place is organized or operated for profit or not.  The term "child-care facility" includes day nurseries, day care centers and any other facility that falls within the scope of the definitions set forth in this paragraph, regardless of auspices.  Exemptions from the provisions of this chapter include:

              (i)  Child-care facilities that operate for no more than two (2) days a week, whose primary purpose is to provide respite for the caregiver or temporary care during other scheduled or related activities and organized programs that operate for three (3) or fewer weeks per year such as, but not limited to, Vacation Bible Schools and scout day camps.

              (ii)  Any child residential home as defined in, and in compliance with the provisions of, Section 43-16-3(b) et seq.

              (iii)  1.  Any elementary, including kindergarten, and/or secondary school system, accredited by the Mississippi State Department of Education, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Mississippi Private School Education Association, the American Association of Christian Schools, the Association of Christian Schools International, a school affiliated with Accelerated Christian Education, Inc., and any Head Start program operating in conjunction with an elementary school system, whether it is public, private or parochial, whose primary purpose is a structured school or school readiness program.

                   2.  Accreditation, for the purpose of exemption from the provisions of this chapter, means:  a. receipt by any school or school system of full accreditation from an accrediting entity listed in item 1 of this subparagraph (iii), or b. proof of application by the school or school system for accreditation status from the accrediting entity.  Proof of application for accreditation status shall include, but not be limited to, a copy of the applicant's completed application for accreditation filed with the licensing agency and a letter or other authenticating documentation from a signatory authority with the accrediting entity that the application for accreditation has been received and that the applicant is currently under consideration or review for full accreditation status by the accrediting entity.  An exemption for a nonaccredited applicant under this item 2 shall be for a maximum of one (1) year from the receipt date by the licensing agency of the completed documentation for proof of application for accreditation status.  Failure to receive full accreditation by the end of the one-year exemption period for a nonaccredited applicant shall result in the nonaccredited applicant no longer remaining exempt from the provisions of this chapter at the end of the one-period.  However, if full accreditation is not received by the end of the one-year exemption period, the State Board of Health, in its discretion, may extend the exemption period for any nonaccredited applicant for periods of six (6) months, with the total extension not to exceed one (1) year.  During any such extension periods, the board shall have the authority to enforce child-care facility licensure provisions relating to the health and safety of the children in the school or school system.  If a nonaccredited applicant fails to receive full accreditation by the end of all extended exemption periods, the applicant shall no longer remain exempt from the provisions of this chapter at the end of the extended exemption periods.  This item 2 shall stand repealed on July 1, 2006.

              (iv)  Any membership organization affiliated with a national organization that charges only a nominal annual membership fee, does not receive monthly, weekly or daily payments for services, and is certified by its national association as being in compliance with the association's minimum standards and procedures including, but not limited to, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and the YMCA.

              (v)  Any family child-care home as defined in Section 43-20-53(a) et seq.

     All other preschool child-care programs and/or extended day school programs must meet requirements set forth in this chapter.

          (b)  "Health" means that condition of being sound in mind and body and encompasses an individual's physical, mental and emotional welfare.

          (c)  "Safety" means that condition of being protected from hurt, injury or loss.

          (d)  "Person" means any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association.

          (e)  "Operator" means any person, acting individually or jointly with another person or persons, who establishes, owns, operates, conducts or maintains a child-care facility.  The child-care facility license shall be issued in the name of the operator, or, if there is more than one (1) operator, in the name of one (1) of the operators.  If there is more than one (1) operator, all statutory and regulatory provisions concerning the background checks of operators shall be equally applied to all operators of a facility including, but not limited to, a spouse who jointly owns, operates or maintains the child-care facility regardless of which particular person is named on the license.

          (f)  "Personal care" means assistance rendered by personnel of the child-care facility in performing one or more of the activities of daily living which includes, but is not limited to, the feeding, personal grooming, supervising and dressing of children placed in the child-care facility.

          (g)  "Licensing agency" means the Mississippi State Department of Health.

          (h)  "Caregiver" means any person who provides direct care, supervision or guidance to children in a child-care facility, regardless of title or occupation.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.