‘Ellie's Law' Passed in Memory of Frisco Infant Who Died in Daycare

Law aims to close loopholes and increase transparency for parents seeking childcare

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It's been three years, and still, not a day goes by that Ami and Tommy Davis don't fight to keep their daughter's memory alive.

"We miss her a lot, but she's where she needs to be,” said Ami Davis.

At the time of her death, 3-month-old Ellie was at the in-home daycare the Davises had vetted and trusted to care for both her and big sister Charlie.

"Basically, they left her unsupervised. I guess, they were coming back and forth checking on her,” said Tommy Davis. "When they came back in, she was found on her face unresponsive."

An investigation into her death by both the Department of Texas Health and Human Services and the Texas Department of Family Protective Services was later closed with investigators unable to determine whether neglect was a factor.

But in reading all they could about their daughter’s case, the Davises felt it wasn’t just the facility but also the system that had failed Ellie.

Though the state provides a database of citations for daycare providers, the couple learned those deficiencies are tied to a license number, rather than the provider’s name, which can change with a new address. The citations are also scrubbed every two years.

"You trust the process, or what you thought was a trusted process. And then we find out, oh, there's this loophole within that,” said Ami.

So after years of working with Senator Angela Paxton’s office for reform, Ami and Tommy traveled to Austin last month to hear Ellie’s Law presented.

It would require that within the state’s database, past violations and deficiencies remain associated with an individual caregiver. It also would increase the number of years those deficiencies are considered from two to five.

It also calls for HHSC to establish standards for better supervision of infants engaged in tummy time.

The Davises got the chance to testify and share Ellie’s story.

"We believe that had this law been in place prior to 2018, Ellie would still be here with us today,” said Ami in her testimony.

On June 14, Governor Greg Abbott signed Ellie’s Law.

“For whatever reason, she’s meant to do something that’s pretty incredible. So I think at least sharing her story, it brings some kind of sense of justice to her story, because she’s saving other people and brought light to a really bad loophole in the system,” said Ami.

Ellie’s Law goes into effect September 1.

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