SB18-201 (Priola) Eliminate Child Care Regulations for Religious Organizations

Originally Posted: March 23, 2018
Last Updated: April 13, 2018


This bill would eliminate all licensing protections for any child care facility connected with a church where parents or employees of the church are attending any church programing, regardless of the length of time children are in care. The bill would eliminate: all requirements to complete criminal background, sex offender registry or child abuse and neglect record checks; all training or background requirements for caregivers; and all requirements regarding caregivers’ first aid preparedness, CPR knowledge, and training for universal precautions, safe sleep for infants, disaster preparedness, and child development. The bill would also allow any person to care for any number of children. This could include caring for an unlimited number of infants, children with disabilities, and/or children with high needs.


The Children’s Campaign strongly opposes this bill. Colorado’s leaders have long-recognized that we have an obligation to protect children at the most sensitive points in their lives. In order to keep them safe and secure, we must hold child care providers to certain standards of safety, health and quality to ensure they provide suitable settings for young children. Without current licensing requirements, many children will lose the protections that adequate supervision ensures. Because of their natural curiosity and their developing brain and body, children will encounter situations that may cause them harm. However, safe environments, appropriate ratios, and active supervision, as licensing standards provide, have proven to be essential in preventing injuries. Unfortunately, this bill would eliminate basic protections for children in certain child care facilities. Removing assurances of healthy environments, safe play areas, and caregiver qualifications would roll back many efforts to ensure child care settings put our children on a path to a healthy life and school readiness. This bill would allow any person in a facility operated in connection with a church where employees of the church are involved with church programming to care for children without first completing criminal background, sex offender registry or child abuse and neglect record checks. This will place our most vulnerable children in potentially dangerous circumstances.

The cost of child care in our state is not primarily being driven by licensing requirements for providers. Colorado ranks 35 out of 50 states for rigor of licensing and oversight standards and regulations for child care centers. This bill will not solve the problem of child care affordability in Colorado. The bill would result in less licensed child care for families. Alabama, which created a broad religious exemption from child care licensing, has seen a dramatic decline in the availability of licensed care.

Current Status

Passed the third reading in the Senate on a vote of 18-16 and now heads to the House

Previous Statuses

March 23, 2018

Assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard on Monday, Mar. 26 at 2:00pm in Room 354

March 30, 2018

Assigned to the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee where it is scheduled to be heard on Monday, Apr. 2 at 2:00 in Room 354

March 30, 2018

Passed the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on a partisan vote of 4-3 and passed 2nd reading on the Senate floor. It now awaits a final vote in the Senate. Bill Jaeger, our VP of Early Childhood & Policy Initiatives, testified in opposition of the bill.