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EDITORIAL

General Assembly must not stall on day care safety

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 8:35 am

The ability of these businesses to get under radar is scary business.

Questions about Indiana’s rules and how they are applied for day care businesses have stirred in the past.

After an unattended toddler drowned in a baptismal font at an Indianapolis church’s day care in 2012, an Indianapolis Star investigation showed how easily faith-based operations were able to skirt child care regulations in Indiana.

Exempt from the rules that covered state-licensed day cares, the vast majority of those with religious ties were using the free pass the state granted, a report showed.

The latest investigation by the newspaper reveals that the state’s lax codes leave way too many children in potentially dangerous situations.

According to The Star’s look at state records, 15 of the 21 child deaths in Indiana day cares since 2009 came at unlicensed operations.

In addition to the exemption for religious-based day cares, Indiana law regulates day care businesses with six or more children not related to the caregivers.

That isn’t to say that all of those places are inherently dangerous.

But it raises questions about where the state is willing to draw the line between safety and something closer to simply taking your chances.

Parents, particularly those in lower-wage jobs, often find themselves in tight spots when scoping out available spots for their kids as they try to keep hours at their jobs. Those parents’ hopeful trust shouldn’t be the only line of defense.

But right now, the ability of a day care to get by under the state radar is scary business. If you don’t think so, read the accounts of parents devastated by incompetent care that led to their children’s death.

The General Assembly simply might be waiting for something more spectacular to happen to children in unregulated day cares before taking on this situation. That’s tragic, too.

— From the (Lafayette) Journal and Courier