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Senate OKs bill to expand child care, boost safety

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has passed legislation to require child care providers who care for children from low-income families through a government voucher program to undergo criminal background checks, know first aid and CPR, and get other training.

The bipartisan legislation, which passed Thursday on a 97-1 vote, also would require annual state inspections of child care centers. At issue is the $5 billion-plus spent annually to help provide care to 1.6 million children, many of whom are in single-parent households.

Supporters of the legislation, which is designed to expand access to federally subsidized child care and improve its quality, say such care is a vital means to allow parents of modest means to stay in the workforce.