Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good News (Sorta): Educating Iowa

The Des Moines Register has an article about two initiatives proposed by child advocates.

One would create a statewide education program:
PROPOSAL: State public health officials would create a statewide prevention program for shaken-baby syndrome to educate parents and others caring for a child. The state would reach out through parent education and support programs, child care referrals, schools, health care providers and birthing facilities. Participation in the program would be voluntary.

STATUS: Senate File 101 passed unanimously out of the Senate Human Resources Committee and is now eligible for debate by the full Iowa Senate.

The article notes that shaken-baby syndrome is the leading cause of young-child homicide in Iowa, with 49 deaths between 1995 and 2007, according to a report by the Iowa Child Death Review Team.

The other would license all home-based child care providers. Apparently, Iowa only regulates centers. Incorporating SBS education for these providers could have a significant impact on the potential for injury: research has found much higher injury rates in home based care than centers, especially for infants.

Link to a Powerpoint presentation by Dr. Julia Wrigley that describes her research.

It's interesting - in an unsettling sort of way - to read the comments on the merits of educating child care providers. One more venue in which the arguments for personal responsibility vs. social responsibility are being played out.

Regardless of what view of personal responsibility prevails, it is (or should be) obvious that keeping children safer in child care reduces social costs for everyone: it allows greater opportunity for parents to participate in the work force, reduces medical costs and avoid the costs of investigation, prosecution and incarceration.

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