Tougher Law Designed to Protect Children

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Convicted sex offenders will not be allowed to own or operate daycare centers or other facilities that care for children under a new law that took effect Jan. 1.

The daycare center language was part of a bill written by state Senator Charlie Ross and passed by the 2005 Legislature.

Much of the legislation, which prevents sex offenders from working in that child care industry, took effect July 1. Only the effective date of ownership/operation issue was delayed until this month.

Lawmakers wanted to give people who run child care facilities the opportunity to dissolve their business, if necessary.

The sex offender bill is among a handful of new laws that went into effect the first day of 2006.

The ban on sex offenders owning and operating child care facilities isn't unique to Mississippi. Officials say many other states have similar bans.

In Mississippi, the Department of Health provides licenses to people who want to open and operate child care centers.

Licensed child care facilities are required to submit fingerprints and the department processes them for a criminal history record check, sex offender check, and child abuse registry check.


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