Safety violations found at Head Start centers

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal auditor says some government-funded childcare programs have been operating in violation of safety rules by failing to conduct criminal background checks of employees.

Other violations include leaving household chemicals within a preschooler's reach and leaving a machete near an outdoor play area.

A review by the Inspector General of the Health and Human Services Department found these and other safety violations at Head Start centers. Head Start is the federal program that provides early education services to nearly 1 million kids.

Of the 175 facilities covered in the review, many had cleaning supplies and other chemicals accessible to kids. More than half had playground equipment not in good repair. A majority did not comply fully with federal or state requirements to conduct criminal and other background checks.

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