Bill would require licensing for all day cares

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COLUMBIA - A Missouri lawmaker wants to license all child care facilities in the state.  State Reprsentative Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City introduced a bill today.

Thousands of day cares across the state currently operate without a license. The law requires day care centers hosting more than four children to apply for license. 

Paul Prevo, owner of Tiger Tots Child Development Center in Columbia, said he agrees with the idea of licensing all child care facilities.

"Licensing has several different requirements that centers are required to go through, certain inspections," Prevo said. "I think it's fair to say every center should be able to meet those standards."

Day cares applying for licensing must interview with the Department of Social Services. They also must have their facilities inspected and meet all requirements for a licensed day care within six months of applying.

"In Missouri you need a license to cut hair and paint toenails, but not to operate a child care facility," Lafaver said in a media release. "We have people giving kids medication without any regulatory oversight at all. It's only a matter of time before we have another serious tragedy on our hands."

Prevo said he could understand why some unlicensed day care centers would not want to make the transition.

"For example, if you have a small in-home day care center where they're taking care of two or three of their neighbor's kids," Prevo said. "It's a home-based business, and there is a place for that. But in general, to make sure it's a safe environment, there needs to be some sort of regulation, whether it's by the state or a group of organizations coming together."