Nathan's Law bill would change child limit in home daycares - KCTV5

Nathan's Law bill would change child limit in home daycares

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MISSOURI (KCTV) -

One mother has taken her crusade to change the rules for home child care to Missouri's Legislature. If she's successful, it could mean big changes for parents and child care providers.

The bill would be known as Nathan's Law, named after a 3-month-old who died at an in-home daycare. It would change just how many children a daycare provider could watch inside the home.

Roberta Starr has been running Suzie's Hands Daycare inside her Kansas City home for nearly 10 years.

"I have no state funding, I am not a state-operated daycare. I own and operate my own daycare," she said.

Even though she's not required to do so, she receives annual state certification for operating her daycare. It's something rare of in-home daycare said CEO of Childcare Aware Dr. Carol Scott.

"In a family home daycare, I think the first thing to ask is 'is this a licensed facility?' Because the vast majority of facilities in Missouri are not," Scott said.

A new bill, House Bill 571, would change the laws regarding licensing and would affect in-home cares. Nathan's Bill would permit four children to one adult. The difference is that would include the daycare provider's related children.

Currently, for example, a person who has three children but are being paid to care for three others who are not related would be allowed, but under Nathan's Law the provider's children would now be counted.

Starr cares for six children between the ages of 1 and 4, but agrees with the proposed bill.

"There's a safety issue here. We are talking about little people, people that can get into stuff in the blink of an eye," she said.

It will be difficult, said Starr, for the state to enforce the new law if it passes. But she said parents need to do a better job of reporting daycares.

"For the safety of the kids there should be rules. As an individual you should know yourself. No one should have to tell you that you have too many kids. You should know when you have too many kids," Starr said.

The committee is still discussing whether or not Nathan's Bill, HB 571, will be presented to the House floor.

The KCTV5 Investigative team first told viewers about the push for Nathan's Law in February.

The group ChildCare Aware of Missouri has a list of questions parents should ask when considering daycare options. They include:

  • What kinds of people and activities make your child comfortable and happy?
  • What do you observe when you visit the program?
  • Is it the type of place where your child will be healthy, safe and comfortable?

Click here for a complete checklist on the group's website.

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