In a report with applicability across the government, the Energy Department inspector general has called attention to issues that could arise with agency child care centers which “may also be reopening after being closed for a significant time” in carrying out “reentry” plans to increase the amount of onsite work.
Having more employees work onsite more often as those plans anticipate will cause “an increase in childcare needs as working parents go back to the office, whether part-time or full-time,” the report said.
It cited for example problems it found in prior reports involving lack of compliance with requirements for background checks on employees of the centers—who generally are employees of contractors, not federal employees, at Energy as well as other agencies—for records of child abuse or neglect.
It added that it also has found deficiencies in training on topics such as CPR and first aid, and lack of compliance with contract terms on topics such as operating procedures and meeting accreditation requirements.
“Overall, these issues occurred primarily due to confusion by the contractors managing the centers as to whether the Crime Control Act of 1990 background check requirements and other contract requirements were applicable to them. Also, officials were not providing adequate oversight to ensure adherence to training requirements,” it said.
It said that “if the identified issues are not addressed in a timely manner, parents may not have the assurance that their children are in a safe and healthy environment. Additionally, accreditation can be withdrawn if a childcare center is not compliant with standards or fails to comply with procedures. Further, employees who were not trained in accordance with policies and procedures may not be aware of important changes to childcare techniques or precautions.”