New laws aim to better protect Missouri children

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MISSOURI— Governor Mike Parson wraps up bill signings for the year with many new laws aiming to better protect Missouri children.

House Bill 397 was signed into law Thursday. It puts a cap on the number of children that an unlicensed, in-home child care businesses can have. Previously there were no limits on how many kids could be in their care at one time.

Starting August 28th, those providers can’t have any more than six “under-school-age” children. And out of that, only half can be under the age of 2.

Criminal penalties and fines are also increased if providers violate these rules. If facilities want to care for more than six kids at a time, they have to become licensed. The bill is called “Nathan’s Law,” named after a 3-month-old who suffocated in his crib in an unlicensed day care in 2007.

House-Bill 604 is also signed by the governor. It will create a pilot program where state elementary schools can teach social and emotional health.

The goal is to help younger students manage stress, create and keep positive relationships, and deal with social challenges. Lawmakers who sponsored the bill say this will also add to suicide prevention efforts across the state.

The curriculum will roll out in the 2020-2021 school year.

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