New bill would require liability insurance for child care providers

New bill would require liability insurance for child care providers
Published: May. 7, 2017 at 2:27 PM HST|Updated: May. 7, 2017 at 9:15 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A bill that would require Hawaii child care providers to obtain liability insurance is awaiting Gov. David Ige's signature.

Supporters of HB674 say it's an effort to increase oversight and give families better peace of mind.

"I think it fills an important gap in policy to protect both providers and the families they serve," said Cynthia King.

The law would be known as the "Wiley Muir Act" in honor of King's son, who died at a Honolulu daycare in 2014.

"Ultimately, it's a bill that allows parents to sue providers once an injury or death has already occurred," King said. "And the whole point is to try and prevent those things from happening."

Chelsea Valiente agrees.

Her son, Peyton, suffered grave injuries at an Ewa Beach in-home day care two years ago.

She says he still undergoes extensive rehab.

"He is recovering although he's not out of the woods yet," Valiente said. "These people need to be held accountable and I think this is a good way to keep them in check."

According to Department of Human Services, there are roughly 390 registered family child care homes and six licensed group child care facilities in Hawaii.

The agency supports the intent of the bill, but said the costs of obtaining liability insurance might reduce the number of day cares available and parents may pay more money for services.

"We requested the legislature give us enough time so we can figure it out," said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot, in a February interview with Hawaii News Now. "What are the rates and what impact would it have."

Another proposal that would have required the state to post child care inspection records online, failed this legislative session.

"I'm really hoping that in the future, lawmakers will recognize there are still really important steps to take to make day cares safer for our keiki," said King. "Ultimately, this really is just one piece of a bigger picture to try and make licensed day cares safer for our kids."

The bill now heads to the governor's desk.

If passed, child care providers will need to carry liability insurance by 2019.

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