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MN Day Cares Could See Stricter Laws



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In response to an increase in child deaths at in home day cares, Minnesota regulators will propose a handful of new safety measures to the state legislature.

These are just proposals, no new laws are set into place yet.

Some of the things legislators are looking at is enforcing stricter safe sleep practices, requiring more training for providers and issuing stiffer penalties for day care providers who violate safety standards.

In Rock County, there are around 45 in-home daycares.

Vicky Henderson, a social worker with the Southwest Health & Human Services office located in Luverne, said they haven't run into any major problems.

"I've been licensing for five years or almost five years and there have not been any deaths. Very, very fortunate," said Henderson.

That isn't the case in other areas of Minnesota; across the state there are 11,000 in-home providers.

A state study states, “children have been dying in licensed home day cares at a rate of roughly one per month for the last five years.”

To reduce the number of child deaths, the Legislature will look to mandate more training and give parents more access to inspection records.
 
"There are some good points to be made to improve and increase safety for kids and everybody wants that," said Henderson.

One of the proposed changes is to increase training required for sudden infant death syndrome.

"The current law says providers have to have in person training one time every five years and so one proposal is to increase that to be annually," said Henderson.

Other laws include improving training for licensors throughout the state, to create consistencies among the 87 counties in Minnesota.

When asked whether new regulations would reduce the amount of deaths in daycares,
Henderson says that would be purely speculation.

"It's really tough to come up with proposals to match what are the causes because each situation is unique and different," said Henderson.

She said current and new laws are there for a reason.

"For the health and safety of the kids," said Henderson.

Not to make life difficult for the provider or licenser.

Minnesota daycare providers will know more once an actually bill is proposed, the Minnesota legislature ends in May.
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