New rules that call for day cares to post problems by their front doors and quicker action to close dangerous day cares were among standards approved Friday by Gov. Brad Henry. The governor signed the rules, which were proposed last month by the Department of Human Services. DHS commissioners approved many of the changes because of the death of a 2-year-old boy whose mouth was taped over at a Tulsa day care in May. The rules will go into effect Oct. 1. They will affect more than 5,500 licensed day cares. "These rules will help us better regulate the day care industry and protect the children and families it serves,” Henry said. Casey Moore, an assistant administrator with the Child Care Resource Center in Tulsa, said she is glad the governor signed the rules, which among other things would require day care operators to publicly post information regarding disciplinary actions and investigations involving their businesses. They also would give DHS greater latitude in shutting down questionable child care operations. "It's a really good first step in the right direction,” she said. The rules put the children first "and I just don't feel like that's what's been happening,” said Moore, whose agency covers Tulsa, Creek, Rogers and Wagoner counties.
More work aheadOther changes still are necessary, such as DHS notifying parents when a day care is asked to voluntarily close, she said. Such a procedure would keep parents informed and alert them of the possibility of looking for alternative care. During a state House of Representatives committee hearing Thursday at the state Capitol, DHS Director Howard Hendrick said more can be done. Rep. Ron Peters, R-Tulsa, said the House study could provide further changes. Joshua Minton, 2, died in a hospital in May after being found with his mouth taped and his hands bound at a Tulsa day care. Vicki Chiles, the day care's owner, is charged with first-degree murder.
Day care rulesThe rules include requiring: •DHS to decide in one business day whether to close a day care if a licensing specialist or supervisor recommends an emergency order. •Day care owners to post summaries of DHS investigations confirming abuse or neglect in clear view of their main entrances for 120 days. •Day care owners to provide files to parents on DHS inspections within 120 days from the time the files are requested.