Home daycare death prompts news laws - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Home daycare death prompts news laws

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A former Sioux Falls daycare provider pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts involving the 2011 death of a baby.

Connie Edwards was running a home daycare at the time, and had already been cited for having too many kids in her care.

Thursday, she admitted to contributing to the neglect of a child and giving false information to police.

Minnehaha County States Attorney, Aaron McGowan is glad responsibility is being taken in this case, "It's been on going since June 30, 2011, a lengthy investigation, we've litigated a number of issues where the constitutionality of the statutes were challenged. We won those challenges and we're finally at a place where we've gotten a guilty plea and some accountability and responsibility and we look forward to sentencing," he said.

The Sioux Falls Department of Health had been trying to make changes since 2010.

But this tragic incident made it clear they needed to get it done.

By 2012 the ordinance was changed.

After an infants death at daycare in 2011, Sioux Falls Public Health charged forward with plans to make family daycares safer.

Starting with an inspection before it opens.

"We notify them that we do the inspection on the front end, then we do an unannounced inspection after they start and then we do a complaint basis we will do inspections as well," said Jill Franken, Sioux Falls Public Health Director.

She added even though it is important for the city to do these inspections, it is equally critical for parents to drop by as well, which is also new.

"Parents need to go in when they're not expected and they need to just pop in and see how their kids are doing and be assured of themselves that they kind of care that they want provided is actually being provided," Franken said.

She said they have also made it easier for parents to find out if a family daycare has gotten any citations, "You can go into our website and you can go into an area that launches our database that can give you all the inspections. You can search it by address and name of the provider."

Another change that came from the Connie Edward's incident is who is allowed to watch the children.

"We provided a more enhanced language around registered helpers so that absolutely anybody that is assisting in the home in any capacity with the family daycare is registered to do so," said Franken.

Franken stressed the partnership between her department and parents is critical.

They both need to make sure quality care is being provided for the child.

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