Gov. Ige signs Peyton's Law, adding reforms to child welfare system

Updated: Jul. 27, 2018 at 5:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three years after Peyton Valiente was severely injured while under the care of his Ewa Beach babysitter, major reforms of Hawaii's child welfare system are underway.

Earlier this month, Gov. David Ige signed "Peyton's law," which requires the state to provide parents with any reports of confirmed child abuse or neglect by a childcare provider.

"In a sense, it's a little bit of closure for us (because) it also helps to protect a lot of children. If it just saves one child, it has done its job," said Chelsea Valiente, Peyton's mother.

The bill's passage is bittersweet for the Valiente family, who said police botched the criminal investigation into who injured their son.

Had the new law been in place three years ago, his mother said Peyton's injuries could have been prevented.

"I've heard from other families who have utilized the same babysitter that there were certain instances in their own experiences that that were little alarming," Valiente said.

"It could have been investigated, and then that would have been on the record and I could have accessed it," Valiente said.

The law also establishes a working group, which includes law enforcement and children's advocates, to review weaknesses in Hawaii's child welfare system.

"This is one of the first steps we are taking to improve the system of care, particularly the health and safety of our children," said Pankaj Bhanot, director of the Department of Human Services.

Meanwhile, Peyton's family is still pursuing a civil lawsuit against their former babysitter. The trial is set for January.

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