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Family says Missouri lawmakers weakened day-care safety bill

A plethora of factors have to be considered when parents and family law courts in Missouri decide on how much money a non-custodial parent should pay for child support. In addition to everyday costs, child support calculations might include health insurance, college costs, extracurricular expenses, special medical needs and day care, just to name a few.

Coming to an agreement on child support payments can sometimes be difficult when the non-custodial parent doesn't approve of the decisions the custodial parent is making for the children. Recently, one family in Missouri was working with lawmakers to pass a bill that might have helped parents in child support disputes come to an agreement more easily about where their children were sent for day care. However, the family who inspired the bill has now withdrawn their support of the legislation.

In 2007, the family lost their son to an accident at a home day care, and since then, they have pushed for a reform called "Nathan's Law" that would limit the number of children a day-care provider can enroll. Under Missouri law, unlicensed day-care providers can care for a maximum of four children who are not part of the provider's own family, but day-care providers can care for an unlimited number of related children at the same time.

"Nathan's Law" was aimed at counting related and non-related children equally in day-care enrollments. The bill also sought to give regulators the ability to close down providers who refused to abide by the limits. But those two stipulations were taken out of the bill that was passed, and the family who pushed so hard for the legislation has withdrawn their support.

The mother of the child who initially inspired the bill said the Missouri lawmakers had "taken away the meat of what we wanted done." She went on to say that the new version of the bill failed to sufficiently protect children in day-care facilities.

Custodial and non-custodial parents alike share similar concerns in the St. Charles area. When a couple is going through a divorce, day care for children is an important issue that is often resolved in child support proceedings. Being fully aware of the enrollment and conditions of a day-care facility is one way for both parents to ensure that support payments are being used in the child's best interest.

Source: stltoday.com, "Missouri child-care bill loses some bite," Nancy Cambria, April, 2012

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