Who could be against making sure babies are cared for in the safest environment possible? The Missouri Family Network Wednesday – that’s who. There was a hearing Wednesday in the Capitol on Nathan’s Law (HB 1350)with testimony from experienced child care professionals and advocates. They told of the need for changes in the law regarding UNLICENSED home daycare operations because of the 54 deaths in the last 55 months in those businesses. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jill Schupp (D-CreveCoeur) explained that the bill would require that there be no more than 4 children under the age of 5 for each caregiver in a home daycare business. That is the ratio requirement for licensed daycare centers and seems reasonable. I worked in a licensed daycare facility with infants and know first hand that feeding, diapering, rocking and playing with 4 babies is just about all a person can handle. In most of the large centers, two caregivers can share up to 8 babies which helps because emergencies do arise and a second person is needed.
Nathan’s Law is named after a 3 month old boy who died in a home daycare setting when the caregiver placed him on his stomach in a playpen with a blanket under him. The blanket became crunched up under his head and he suffocated. Nathan’s mother told her story, how she and her husband thought they were doing the right thing for their baby when she had to return to work. Represntatives from several child welfare groups also testified.
When the committee chair asked if there were any of those present who wanted to speak AGAINST the bill, I thought it was kind of silly of her to ask. Who in their right mind could be against providing the safest environment possible for babies? To my utter amazement, a man who said he belongs to the Missouri Family Network testified quite ardently that setting a requirement of 4 to 1 ratio was “state interference” and “going too far.” He claimed that people have a right to earn a living taking care of other people’s children and that the children belonging to the caregiver’s family shouldn’t be counted in the 4 to 1 ratio. So someone with their own 3 babies or their sister’s own 2 babies could take care of 7 or 8 infants and toddlers in one home with no other adult available when needed. The guy from Mo Family Network warned the House Committee members that they really don’t want to tangle with the homeschoolers. I decided to google MFN.
MFN celebrated 25 years of service with a special dinner on November 5, 2009. Twenty-five years of upholding scriptural truth, defending the traditional family and championing human life.
This is what I found on their fairly skimpy website and comes the closest to a “mission” statement:
“MFN celebrated 25 years of service with a special dinner on November 5, 2009. Twenty-five years of upholding scriptural truth, defending the traditional family and championing human life.”
It would appear that the “traditonal family” folks have some real clout with the state legislature despite the fact that HB 1350 has bi-partisan support. It’s a sad fact that profit is more important than people’s health and safety, especially since the Missouri state motto claims that the People’s Welfare Shall Reign Supreme.