Day care reforms pass Okla. House - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Day care reforms pass Okla. House

Oklahoma City_Press Release_The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted today to increase oversight of day care facilities and to ensure that parents have easy access to the results of the Department of Human Services (DHS) inspections of the day care facility that they choose for their children.

"We want to empower parents by giving them access to information they need to make decisions about the care of their child," said state Rep. Ron Peters, R-Tulsa. "They need to know what's going on in their childcare facility. They shouldn't have to rely on DHS to make the decision."

House Bill 2643, by Peters, would require the Department of Human Services to post all childcare inspection records on the Internet. The bill also requires centers to publicly post the availability of inspection records at the facility.

"This law will also strengthen background checks for childcare workers and give parents the ability to evaluate the performance of child care facilities both before they choose a facility and during the time their child is in the facility," Peters said.

House Bill 2643 also creates an online child care abuse registry to prevent anyone convicted of child abuse or neglect from working in a day care center.

"Too often, when DHS shuts down a childcare home, the people who run the home are able to then go to work at a child care center with no record of their previous history," Peters said. "House Bill 2643 will prevent that."

The legislation was filed in response to the tragic death of two-year-old Joshua Minton, who was killed in May 2007 at a child-care home in Tulsa.

Vicki Chiles, the caregiver in the home, had covered Joshua's mouth with duct tape because he would not be quiet. Joshua died as a result of the airway obstruction.

Chiles was later sentenced to life in prison.

House Bill 2643 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 99-0 on Tuesday and now proceeds to the state Senate for final approval.

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