OLYMPIA – Legislation to make it simpler for childcare workers to complete fingerprint-based background checks and join the childcare workforce was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee today.

Senate Bill 5774, sponsored by Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane), improves the ability of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), to conduct fingerprint-based background checks for childcare employees and other programs.

Childcare providers across the state have reported that lack of fingerprinting services and backlogs in background check processes have hindered and delayed hiring. This change will expedite the process of people joining the workforce while still ensuring that only fully qualified individuals are able to enter the field.

“We have a childcare workforce shortage, and one big reason is the time it takes to complete the necessary background checks,” said Billig. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to grow access to childcare in our state through funding from the capital gains tax on the wealthiest Washingtonians, but we must continue to find ways to grow this vital workforce.”

Under the legislation, DCYF must maintain the capacity to roll, print, or scan fingerprints in at least seven of the department’s early learning and child welfare offices for the purposes of Washington State Patrol and FBI fingerprint-based background checks. The location will be chosen and prioritized based on the proximity to existing fingerprinting service capacity and regional demand.

The legislation included an emergency clause, making the law effective immediately.