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      New rules for child care providers pass, Increase protection for low-income kids

      The US Senate has passed legislation aimed at protecting children in low income families.

      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.

      By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press