Thursday, January 22, 2009

Press Release from MO State Rep. Rachel Storch

This is such great news! Missouri Representative Rachel Storch has filed a bill, "Nathan's Law", to strengthen and tighten the laws that govern Missouri child care facilities.

Here's what it says:

For Immediate Release:
For more information contact:
January 22, 2009
Rachel Storch at (314)719-7344

Rep. Storch Files “Nathan’s Law” Legislation in MO House to Tighten Child Care Regulations

Bill would protect children across Missouri by addressing weaknesses in state laws and regulations that govern child care facilities.

JEFFERSON CITY – Representative Rachel Storch (D-St. Louis) filed legislation today that would strengthen and tighten the laws that govern Missouri child care facilities.

“Last year, I learned of the tragic death of Nathan Blecha, an infant who had died in a Missouri child care facility,” said Storch. “The circumstances of his death led me to look into Missouri child care laws and regulations. I discovered that, despite two audits conducted respectively by former Auditor Claire McCaskill and current auditor Susan Montee that point out weaknesses in Missouri laws and regulations, the General Assembly has failed to act and as a result, Missouri law does not adequately protect our children. The legislation I am filing today will strengthen the state laws that govern child care facilities and help ensure the safety of our children.”

“Parents obviously have the primary responsibility to keep their children safe,” said Storch. “But government also has a key role as a partner in protecting our children. Many parents rely on government to ensure that child care facilities adhere to the appropriate health and safety standards so it is critical that we have strong laws and regulations,” said Storch.

Storch’s bill includes four specific components: 1) eliminates a Missouri-specific provision that exempts children related to a child care provider from licensure requirements (none of the eight states that surround Missouri have such an exemption); 2) requires unlicensed facilities to disclose their unlicensed status; 3) allows regulators to take immediate action to shut down an illegal facility; 4) enhances penalties for non-compliant facilities.

“It should not require the death of a child to force the state to take action,” said Storch. “However, sometimes a tragedy like this opens the eyes of elected officials and regulators. In the past, loopholes in Missouri law have left children unprotected. While the vast majority of child care facilities adhere to the appropriate standards, we have an obligation to ensure that ‘bad actors’ are shut down or brought into compliance immediately so that children are not at risk. Strong laws and meaningful penalties will protect our children. This bill will honor the memory of Nathan Blecha,” said Storch.
Storch’s bill is HB383.


Click the image below to read the Press Release!

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