A new Minnesota law is under fire for a requirement aimed at children ages 13 to 17 living in “homes where child care is provided,” according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The law requires every child who is in the 13-17 age range, and who lives in a home where child care is provided, be fingerprinted and photographed.
According to the Pioneer Press, the requirement is meant to “improve background checks on people who are around vulnerable populations.”
Reggie Wagner, the Minnesota Department of Human Services deputy inspector general, told the Pioneer Press that the fingerprints would aid the state in keeping tabs on future criminal activity.
The Pioneer Press reports that a law requiring background checks for children in the 13 to 17 age group if they “have contact with people receiving state-licensed services” has been around since 2014. In addition, children in that age group who are living in foster homes are already required to be fingerprinted and photographed. According to the Pioneer Press:
The Department of Human Services decided to collect fingerprints from children ages 13 to 17 living in child care homes, Wagner said, because they’re a more accurate source of identification than the old background checks.
However, state Sen. Jim Abeler said he believes that requirement is much too harsh and has even called for a human services committee meeting on the subject.
On the same side, Julie Seydel, a licensed child care provider in Andover and a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals, told the Pioneer Press that she does not want to force her daughter to be photographed and fingerprinted like she’s done something wrong:
“For kids, when you get your fingers printed and your mug shot, you’re a criminal. That can be really traumatic to some kids.”
Although, according to the new law, kids won’t have to comply with the law at a police station. They can be fingerprinted and photographed at certain centers that provide those services, such as UPS and FedEx. But it is clear the requirement might make some children feel as though they’re in trouble just for living where they do.
Wagner, however, doesn’t agree, telling the Pioneer Press that she believes it will be just like going to get an ID at a local department of motor vehicles:
“It’s a little bit like going to the DMV and getting your driver’s license.”
As for where the fingerprints will be sent, the Pioneer Press reports that they will immediately be filed with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and for teenagers with a pre-existing criminal record, to the FBI. Their photographs will not reportedly be sent anywhere.
According to the Pioneer Press, the requirement will apply to around 120,000 child care providers, employees, and family members in the state once implemented. Around 10 percent of those who fall under the requirement are children of the child care provider.