Missouri legislators pledge to push child care safety

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Nancy CambriaSt. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle pledged this week to put two child care safety measures front and center in the next Missouri legislative session.

The comments came after a series by the Post-Dispatch detailing 45 mostly preventable deaths in Missouri child care facilities from 2007 through 2010. All but four occurred in unlicensed facilities with no state safety standards or inspections. Eight occurred in day cares where providers broke laws by caring for too many children without a required license.

Previously, the Legislature has failed to act on two bills that would enforce higher standards. Those bills — known as Nathan’s Law and Sam Pratt’s Law — have both been pushed by the parents of children who have died in care.

The article goes on to mention how the former chair of the House Standing Committee on Children and Families, Cynthia Davis, chose to have the committee address only abortion regulation. This narrow focus on regulating abortion came at the expense of ensuring the safety of children in child care settings, as Shark-Fu noted in her guest post earlier this week.

Not surprisingly, when asked for comment, Cynthia Davis doubled-down on her opposition to regulating home child care facilities:

“The problem is not that we don’t have enough laws, the problem is that parents need to be vigilant to make good decisions when they put their child in the care of another person,” she said Wednesday. Davis, who is running for lieutenant governor as a third-party candidate, warned that further regulation would drive up child care costs and erode parental control.

Davis conveniently ignores the fact that current laws make it nearly impossible for parents to find out if a child has died while in the care of a particular child care provider.

While I don’t think the Missouri General Assembly is going to stop passing legislation to further regulate abortion (already the most regulated medical procedure in the state), it is promising to see bipartisan support for common-sense regulations that will protect children and give parents peace of mind.    GO TO STORY

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Em Spangler - co-partner

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