Day Cares Worried About Registry Ruling
A list that helps child care providers decide who to hire could be on its way out. A Cole county judge ruled Missouri's child abuse registry unconstitutional. The ruling hits home for day care providers.
Daycare providers at Discovery Place in Jefferson City take every precaution in keeping their kids safe.
"Not only is it our liability, but it's our privilege to work with children and we simply will not allow them to be hurt," said Sharon Winton, child care provider. An important part in caring for kids is providing good employees.
"I'm very, very comfortable in the caliber of our employees and very, very comfortable with how the management screens our employees and looks for abusive symptoms and signs along the way," said Winton.
Child care centers like Discovery Place are meant to be a safe place for kids to play, providers say the child abusers registry is the most important tool they use in keeping offenders out of areas with kids.
Providers use the registry to perform background checks on potential employees.
I would make sure that the daycare has a good reputation that the kids are in good, safe hands," said Julie Stergman, a concerned parent.
The ruling holds the state accountable for making sure the accused are convicted before going on the list.
"Child abusers are what we fight up here all the time, but this is not a matter for some agency to sit there in a cubicle and say, yeah... He's on the list," said Cole County Prosecutor Bill Tackett.
Child care providers say parents should not panic. They say they will continue providing quality care for children. The judge's ruling does not take effect immediately, because the judge assumes the state will appeal.
To report child abuse, you can call the department of Social Service at 573-751-4815.