Moms pushing for stronger child care laws - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Moms pushing for stronger child care laws

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WASHINGTON (KWWL) - An in-home day care provider in eastern Iowa, has been sentenced for restraining children in car seats during nap time.

Last week, a Washington County judge sentenced Debra Crawford, 48, to four days in jail.

Tera Pickens and Nicole Bruty live in Washington and their daughters both attended Crawford's daycare.  "Shock, fear, you don't know what else could be happening," said Tera Pickens. "She told me that she cries when she's at Debra's since she can't get out of her buckles."

Pickens' two daughters were going there and she immediately pulled them out. "Found out the stories were the exact same from the children," said Nicole Bruty, a mother. "My children were talking and said they sleep in car seats."

Both Pickens and Bruty are pushing for stronger city and state laws when it comes to child care providers.

They will be going to the Washington City Council meeting October 21st to discuss if there could be any city regulations changed.

Iowa has three types of child care providers: licensed centers, child development homes, and child care homes.

Licensed centers are businesses that typically care for dozens of children. There are about 1,400 of them in Iowa. 

The Iowa Department of Human Services spokesperson says these centers are required to follow a long list of requirements and they receive at least one unannounced monitoring visit annually from DHS consultants. 

If you're providing child care in-home with more than five children, that's considered a child development home and you have to apply to be registered. DHS seeks to visit all child development homes at least once per year. There are about 3,600 people providing regulated child care in their homes. 

Then in-home daycare or child care homes, the type Crawford was running, is not required to register under Iowa law. People who provide childcare in their own homes and who care for five or fewer children are not required to be registered but have the option to do so.

"If you're going to be watching children and taking money for that service, there needs to be some oversight and they need to be registered and licensed," said Pickens.

The provider simply needs to be 18 years of age, have a clean Iowa child abuse record, no state criminal record and no national criminal record.

"We want our children protected and we're going to tighten things up a little bit more for their protection," said Bruty. "This never should have happened. So my main concern is the safety of children in our community and little ones everywhere that are being dropped off everyday and left in the care of someone," said Pickens.

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