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New Child Care Law Has Unintended Consequences for Providers, Families

Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA
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Children are being pushed into unlicensed child care homes and out of child care facilities entirely through an unintended effect of a new law passed to protect them.

Nathan’s Law was written to ensure the safety of children in unlicensed child care homes. The law was named after an infant, Nathan Blecha, who died in an unlicensed child care home in 2007. He was 3 months old.

In closing a loophole that had allowed unlicensed providers to care for four children and an unlimited number of related children, lawmakers also got rid of the provision which allowed licensed providers to not count their own children in their license capacity.

The hope was the legislation — which went into effect Wednesday — would ensure providers were not caring for more children than they could handle. According to previous Missourian reporting, however, over half of Missourians live in child care deserts. Limiting the number of spots a licensed provider can have means that those deserts become even larger.

To read more, visit our partners at the Columbia Missourian.