LANSING — State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) praised the passage today of two Senate bills that would impose criminal penalties for child care providers who intentionally violate state rules, resulting in the death of a child. Senate Bills 746 and 747 were passed out of the Senate in March of this year and were voted out of the House today by a 76-31 and 74-33 vote, respectively.

“The circumstances that led to the need for these bills are tragic, and as a fellow parent my heart aches for Coopers’ family,” said Rep. Brinks. “I am grateful, however, that my colleagues in the Legislature addressed this issue so that every parent can feel more at ease when leaving their child in the care of others.”

Senate Bill 746 requires that any care provider licensed under the Child Care Licensing Act that provides care to children in a private home would be guilty of second-degree child abuse if they intentionally violate a licensing rule for a family or group child care home, and that violation caused the death of a child. That care provider would also lose his or her license or certificate of registration as a child caregiver. Under SB 747, the penalty for a first time offense would be imprisonment for up to 10 years and up to 20 years for the second and subsequent offenses.

“I understand the need for parents to be able to depend on quality caregivers while they are providing for their children and families,” said Rep. Brinks. “While the punishments outlined in these bills will not dull the pain that families feel in the face of such tragedies, there must be consequences when providers commit willful violations that endanger children.”