9 Investigates: DCF considers changes to day care regulations

9 Investigates: DCF considers changes to day care regulations

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Children and Families is in the middle of a proposed set of rule changes as to how day cares are regulated statewide, 9 Investigates reporter Karla Ray learned.

One of the big changes would make failing to double check transport vehicles for children left inside one of the most serious violations.

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Other proposed changes will take violations that currently result in an immediate shutdown and reduce them to a less serious offense that could only carry a fine.

9 Investigates uncovered the rules were ignored Monday at Little Miracles Day care where 3-year-old Myles Hill died in a hot car. Records showed he was left in the 2000 Honda Odyssey for nearly 12 hours.

Current DCF rules say if a day care driver and a second staff member fail to physically inspect a visual sweep of a transport vehicle to ensure that no child was left inside, it’s considered a “class 2” violation. However the rule must be broken several times before the day care facility is fined or shut down.

Under new proposed DCF rules, if two people do not inspect a vehicle to make sure a child is left behind, it would become a “class 1” violation. It would also allow DCF the discretion to shut down the day care, but it wouldn’t be a requirement.

The proposal would also crack down on day care cleanliness. Facilities noted to have serious health or safety hazards would receive “class 1” violations and automatically receive at least a fine of no less than $100 per day.

Some rules for day cares would be relaxed under the new proposed DCF changes.

Discipline associated with food, rest or toileting would no longer carry an automatic fine. Instead it would be considered a less serious "class 2" violation.

It would also be a "class 2" violation when daycare personnel lie about the facility to parents, licensing authorities and even law enforcement.