Fingerprint flap gets hearing at MN Capitol

Minnesota in-home child care providers are pushing back against a new fingerprinting requirement for their own teenage children.

They complained Wednesday about the recently enacted law during Senate human services reform committee hearing.

Julie Seydel, a licensed provider from Andover and public policy director for the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals, told lawmakers that the requirement is overly intrusive.

“My 14-year-old daughter is such a good kid. She does her school work, She works hard to be part of the school varsity dance team. She is an honest, innocent child who has never committed a crime, and I’m here today asking that her state treat her that way,” Seydel said. “What other job or business requires you to subject your family members to such scrutiny?”

Julie Peterson, a child care provider from Meeker County, warned that the fingerprinting requirement could drive some providers out of the business.

“It puts another burden on providers and their families,” Peterson said.

State officials say the fingerprinting of children ages 13 to 17, who are already subject to background checks, will begin in summer or fall of 2018. They say the change was needed to better align Minnesota with federal law.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Deputy Commissioner Chuck Johnson said the state is trying to balance the burdens on providers with the safety of the children in their care.

“The fingerprint really is the way to get to federal criminal information,” Johnson said. “What you lose without it is the ability to look at whether there was a crime that happened in another state.”

Legislation is expected next session to repeal the requirement ahead of its planned implementation.

Johnson said the department is open to further discussion on the issue.

The committee chair, Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said he plans to make changes.

“Something is going to be done,” he said.

  • Theresa Peplinski

    Thank you to Julie Seydel and all of the Providers working hard to have our voice heard. 13-17 year olds do not have to be fingerprinted to be in compliance with Federal law. This “extra level” was added by DHS. A basic background check satisfies the Federal requirement.