Local support for new law making it crime to operate unlicensed daycare

Local support for new law making it crime to operate unlicensed daycare

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - One day after Governor John Bel Edwards signs a new daycare law, there's support for the measure here in northwest Louisiana.

Angel Green was just two months shy of her second birthday when police say she died inside a hot van registered to the owner of an unlicensed daycare center in Baton Rouge. That was June 5, 2015.

On Thursday, one year and 11-days later, Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 197 into law, making it a criminal offense to operate a daycare without a license.

Word of the new daycare law quickly made it to Busy Bees Academy of Learning on Youree Drive in Shreveport and to its new owner.

"You can never be too safe with children," said owner Charlie Beall.

That's why Beall supports the new daycare law, which requires a license for any operation caring for at least 7 children unrelated to the operator.

As children inside Busy Bees made barbecue sauce for Father's day on Friday, Beall said the recipe for a good daycare includes having enough staff. In her case, that's 5 staffers for her 30-kids.

It's not just Beall, who supports this new law. We spoke with some of her employees who said it's just common sense, especially the part about a background check for employees.

That included 20-year-old college student and Busy Bees employee Lauren Watts, who said it's so important to have reliable people caring for the children.

"And they really look up to you, so you really have to be careful in what you do and say all the time."

And just one week after Angel Green's death last year, The Louisiana Department of Education launched a page on its website listing centers with revoked licenses in the past 2 years, Concerned citizens can also use the site to file anonymous complaints.

Under the new law, operating a daycare without a license is a misdemeanor. A first offense carries a maximum of a $1,000 fine and 6-months in jail.

The fine goes up to a maximum of $2,500 for a second offense, along with a 2-year ban on a child care license.

A third offense carries a maximum $5,000 fine, 1-year in jail and a 4-year ban on a child care license.

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