Congressman John Barrow Introduces the "Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act"
- 12th District Georgia Congressman Barrow (D-Savannah) was today joined by Augusta child care advocate Jacqueline Boatwright to introduce new legislation to help make sure every parent receives accurate information about whether or not their child's daycare provider has liability insurance - so that parents have all the information they need to choose a day care center that's best for their family.
"We've got laws on the books to enforce truth in labeling and truth in lending, so we ought to have truth in day care," Barrow said. "This bill is about making sure day care centers are honest and upfront with parents - so every family has the information they need to make the right decision for their children."
In 2001, Jacqueline Boatwright's 14-month old son, Juan, suffered severe brain damage when he was found headfirst in an unattended bucket of mop water at a state-licensed family day care center in Augusta, Georgia. The day care center was not insured, and there was no law in Georgia at the time to require that child day care providers inform parents of their insurance status. Juan is now 5 years-old and is presently semi-comatose and ventilator-dependent.
Since the accident, Ms. Boatwright has brought national attention to the issue of uninsured day care centers. In Georgia, Ms. Boatwright led a successful legislative effort to require day care providers to publicly post their insurance status. As a result, Georgia law now requires parents to acknowledge in writing that they understand that their day care provider does not have liability insurance.
"For a parent to make an informed decision about where to send their child for day care, they should have all the information about that facility," Jacqueline Boatwright said. "Had I known that my son's day care center didn't have coverage, I never would've sent him there. No child should suffer the way my child has, and no family should have to go though what my family has. Congressman Barrow's bill will make Georgia's Juan's Law' a model for the rest of the country."
The Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act, which Barrow introduced today, does not require day care providers to have liability insurance. Instead, it adds important criteria that states must meet in order to receive federal Child Care & Development Block Grants. These include:
* Recommending to day care providers that they carry liability insurance.
* Requiring day care providers to post publicly and conspicuously whether or not they have liability insurance; give written notice to parents about whether or not they have liability insurance; get a signature by at least one parent per child on this notice; and maintain the signed notice while the child receives care, and for one year thereafter.
Child Care & Development Block Grants (CCDBG) are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and are provided to the states to subsidize child care expenses for low-income families under age 13. In FY 2006, Georgia is scheduled to receive over $75 million in CCDBG funds.
Federal law already includes a number of criteria states must require child care providers to follow in order to receive CCDBG funds, including standards on the prevention and control of infectious diseases, building safety, and minimum health and safety training appropriate to the provider setting.
Since the Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act simply adds a notification of insurance requirement to the list, the cost for the states is virtually nothing. In addition, the bill will allow the states to determine specifics such as the exact nature of their notification provisions, the minimum amount of liability coverage, and the enforcement provisions.