The Pennsylvania Family Institute applauds the action yesterday of the Senate Education committee to pass Senate Bill 1134 by a 9-2 vote to protect religious child care centers from the heavy hand of government intrusion into their religious mission, while maintaining strong health and safety regulations.

The protections in SB 1134 are long overdue. Religious child care centers — run by churches and ministries — have been forced into legal battles with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) for more than a decade, just to maintain their religious mission of educating and serving families in their communities.

Thanks to the leadership of the bill’s author, Sen. Jake Corman (R-State College) and committee chairman Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Harrisburg), there is hope for both religious child care providers andthe thousands of parents who choose those providers, which include many in underserved communities.

“It’s really a victory for parental choice,” said Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

“Parents, and not the state, are best suited to determine the quality of the center they entrust with their kids.

“Every day across our commonwealth, thousands of parents choose religious child care centers that share their values and provide affordable service,” said Geer.

The Pennsylvania Family Institute calls for swift passage by both Senate and House.