The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1662, the Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act, or "Juan's Law," introduced by Congressman John Barrow. The legislation recommends that day care providers carry liability insurance, and requires licensed day care providers to alert parents with written notice about whether or not they carry liability insurance, and how much. This bill was first introduced in the last Congress.
Anthony DeJuan Boatwright, or Juan, was 14 months old when he fell head first into an unattended bucket of mop water at a state-licensed family day care center in Augusta, Georgia. He sustained severe brain damage and today is in a semi-comatose state and is dependent on a ventilator. The center that was caring for Juan didn't have liability insurance. There was no law in Georgia that required the center to have liability insurance in order to be issued a state license to care for children, and no law that required day care providers to inform parents of their insurance status. Thanks to Juan's mother, Jackie Boatwright, "Juan's Law" is now law in Georgia, California, Virginia, and New Hampshire.
"If these requirements had been in place when Jackie Boatwright enrolled Juan in day care, a tragedy would have been prevented," said Barrow. "Parents need to know whether or not a day care provider carries liability insurance. Jackie was lulled into a false sense of security when she chose a state-licensed day care facility, and it's just plain wrong that a day care facility would accept the responsibility to care for a child, but not accept the responsibility when they fail to do so."
"The fundamental benefit that this law could have on the lives of millions of children who attend child care centers around our country and the unsuspecting parents surpasses any comprehension," said Ms. Boatwright. "Child care should not be done haphazardly. Our children are our greatest commodity and we owe them our protection. I pray that no other mother or child in our country is deprived of knowing the truth about the insurance status of their child care center."
H.R. 1662 will now be sent to the U.S. Senate where Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson has agreed to introduce the bill.
"We can't just sit back and wait for another tragedy to happen," said Barrow. "I hope the Senate acts on the Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act quickly and sends it to President Obama's desk. Jackie Boatwright and parents everywhere deserve no less."