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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 5, 2021 11:53 AM
From: Representative Barry J. Jozwiak
To: All House members
Subject: Municipal Rec Programs
In the very near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation (Previous House Bill 1831) to protect municipal recreation programs and the vital opportunities they provide to our Commonwealth’s children and their parents. Municipalities across the state provide these programs, often on a seasonal basis.

Unfortunately, an unreasonable interpretation of the law by the Department of Human Services is threatening recreation programs for preschool-aged children. The Department has been sending letters informing municipalities that they are running “child day care centers,” and telling them that they must go through the onerous and expensive process of becoming licensed or terminate their programs. As a result of these “cease and desist” letters, municipalities are doing just that, at the expense of the children and families they strove to serve.

Often, certification isn’t even an option; many municipal programs, such as swimming or playground programs, take place beyond the confines of a traditional child day care “facility,” making it prohibitively costly or even impossible to be certified as a day care facility. Moreover, municipal recreation programs are already subject to strict oversight, personnel training requirements, parental consent and background checks for employees and volunteers.

As people of all ages have realized during these trying times, quality interaction with other people and the outdoors is a vital part of mental and physical health. 
In a special announcement dated August 26, 2020, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) encourages certified care when possible but recognizes that may not always be possible. Non-licensed providers must take the appropriate health and safety measures to ensure children are being cared for in a safe setting.
Our bill permits safe programming for preschoolers by simply amending the Human Services Code to exempt public municipal preschool recreation programs from the definition of “child day care center.” This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1155