I-Team: Advocates say new child care law falls short for home day care centers

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by Jeremy Rogalski / KHOU 11 News I-Team

khou.com

Posted on May 24, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 11:21 AM

HOUSTON – In the months after a tragic day care fire in west Houston claimed the lives of four children, parents and lawmakers alike called for tougher regulations for child care facilities.

And now, a new bill is headed for Gov. Rick Perry’s desk that would increase the amount of annual training hours for all types of day cares.

But child advocates say the new law falls short for places that could perhaps benefit most from regulation.

The KHOU 11 News I-Team has learned that the legislation would triple the required initial training hours for employees at day care centers, but it doesn’t cover registered family homes – like the one run by Jessica Tata where the fatal fire occurred.

Currently, there are zero hours of initial training required for those facilities, and that would stay the same under the new law.

Child advocate Sul Ross says the training is critical – especially when you look at the track records of registered family homes.

"It is important to address, and really needs to be," Ross said.

The I-Team recently tracked down some home day cares with more than 100 health and safety violations over the past five years.

"Anything that can be done to help them be better prepared is very important," Ross said. "And with no requirement, there’s no assurance of that."

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