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What the future holds for day care

By Chad Previch Modified: August 3, 2007 at 12:40 am •  Published: August 3, 2007

/> Janice Hendryx, the Commission on Children and Youth's director, said the study was conducted because of Joshua's death, but its findings could apply to many cases. Her agency recommends checks of driving records the posting of day care records at the facilities and online.

Some legislators said it appeared the rules are lenient and favor owners like Chiles. They were told by Hendryx that the DHS should have issued an emergency order before Joshua's death.

DHS Director Howard Hendrick said new rules, which DHS has approved and are waiting for the governor's approval, are steps to respond to the tragedy, but that more can be done. He said the House study could provide further changes.

He cautioned against making rules too aggressive.

"You drive people into underground care and then you don't have anybody to go in there and check on these kids,” he said.

What they're saying
Rick Kerr, a Lawton owner and operator of six day care centers, said owners should not have to post what an employee did if they are fired.

Kerr said some day cares might hide violations if they are the ones responsible for posting them. He also said the new rules might entice investigators to reach conclusions before they have enough evidence.

Casey Moore, an assistant administrator with the Child Care Resource Center in Tulsa, took issue with Kerr's assertion that owners should not have to post what former employees have done.

"If you don't want to post that, I would feel you are willing to hide something from me,” she said. "That doesn't show you have my child's best interest in mind. It's hard for me to hear an owner and director say, ‘I'm worried about losing my income.' Well, I'm worried about losing my child.'”

Peters, the committee chairman, said he was pleased with the hearing and will ask Gov. Brad Henry to sign the proposed rules. "This hearing is about our kids and doing everything we can do to make sure our kids are safe,” Peters said.

Contributing: Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau

The Department of Human Services approved emergency rules on July 24. Once Gov. Brad Henry approves them, they will go into effect Oct. 1. Those include:

•A requirement for DHS to decide in one business day whether to close a day care if a licensing specialist or supervisor recommends an emergency order.

•A requirement for day care owners to post summaries of DHS investigations confirming abuse or neglect in clear view of their main entrances for 120 days.

•A requirement for day care owners to provide files to parents on DHS inspections within 120 days from the time the files are requested.

Next: Henry should approve the rules, a spokesman said Thursday.


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