The Georgia Senate on Friday unanimously passed Sen. Freddie Powell Sims’ (D-Albany) bill, which mandates an immediate investigation and closure of Family Home Day Care centers if a child dies under the facility’s care. Sen. Sims was inspired to create the legislation (SB 451) after hearing about the death of her four month old constituent Jace Hester.
“When baby Jace passed away, his home day care center reopened the day after his death,” said Sims. “Children should not be forced to return to a dangerous situation before a proper investigation is conducted and a state agency deems the facility is safe to reopen.”
Under the legislation, if a minor dies at a Family Home Day Care facility it will immediately be closed and the commissioner of the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) will conduct an investigation. If the investigation proves the conditions of the home caused the child’s death, the operating license would be revoked.
“These facilities are responsible for the lives of our children and they should be held to the highest level of standards,” said Sen. Sims. “Our state has a responsibility to monitor these facilities, and ensure parents they are safe for their children.”
Sims worked with Jace’s mother, Amanda Hester, over one and a half years to create the bill. They will continue to work together as the bill goes into the House.
“These parents are working hard trying to provide the best life possible for their children. They should not have to worry about their children being cared for in substandard facilities,” said Sims. “I will continue to fight for Georgia’s working families and the well being of our children.”
Sen. Freddie Powell Sims represents the 12th Senate District which includes Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Dougherty, Quitman, Randolph and Terell counties and a portion of Mitchell County. She may be reached by phone at 404.463.5259 or email at Freddie.Sims@senate.ga.gov.