Rather Than Lament Dallas-area Daycare Abuses, Here’s How Texas Legislators Can Make a Difference

The grim headlines tell a story that Texas lawmakers need to heed:A childcare worker in Allen is arrested on charges of biting a 3-year-old to discipline her. After a 7-month-old at a McKinney daycare suffers a broken arm, a staffer is indicted on eight counts of injury to a child. North of Fort Worth, a Haslet teacher is arrested after video indicates the adult pinned a 4-year-old boy to the floor and hit him several times.Statewide, an Austin American-Statesman investigation found, nearly 90 children have died from abuse and neglect in daycare centers in the past decade.These horror stories, and others like them, may be the fault of isolated bad actors in an industry that cares for more than 1.1 million Texas children. But they’re a powerful reminder of why Austin needs to better protect our state’s vulnerable children.To its credit, the Legislature has paid more attention this session to the health and safety of children in care. While many of the bills won’t make it across the finish line, I believe one in particular — passed by the Senate but still awaiting a House vote — must not be lost in the end-of-session crush. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, drafted the bill, SB 708, to try to get to the bottom of childcare injuries. The legislation would require the Department of Family Protective Services to collect data on caregiver-child ratios, injuries and facility violations. While recent research suggests injuries are linked to ratios, without hard data, it’s all just guesswork. SB 708’s goal is to allow the data to speak for itself.  Continue reading...

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