After ten years in the making, “Nathan’s Law” is on the verge of becoming the real deal. The Missouri Legislature has passed a measure that would fix a loophole in state law allowing in-home day cares, which are not licensed, to watch four kids, but an unlimited number of relatives.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, is named after Nathan Blecha, who died from suffocation in 2007 at a Jefferson County in-home daycare serving 10 children.
The legislation headed to the governor would limit the total number of children to six with no more than three under the age of 2. Violators would face a misdemeanor and potential fines. If they continue to break the law, they could go to prison.
“It’s really going to save kids’ lives. We put together a great big group to make sure that we got the law right,” says Schupp. “This does not force anyone into licensure, as long as they’re following the law. If they want to watch more than six kids, they need to get licensed, if they want subsidies to help with the cost of childcare.”
Schupp credits former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Nancy Cambria with exposing the problem of unregulated day cares in Missouri.
“Nathan’s Law” was added to House Bill 397.
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