TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly advanced a measure, sponsored by Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, requiring parents or guardians to notify child care centers of an absence and vice versa when the center experiences an unexcused absence. It now goes to the governor for his signature.
From Sesame Street to State Street, Dunn says that advocating for children’s health and safety has been a constant in her life’s work. Prior to becoming a New Jersey legislator, Dunn worked as a public affairs executive for Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
“We have to remain vigilant to protect our children,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “We can’t let our guard down while the coronavirus upends normal routines. Many of our safety nets have disappeared because of disruptions to our schedules. Having an additional layer of communication in the event something seems amiss in a childcare setting is common sense when it comes to the safety of little ones.”
During the Assembly Women and Children Committee hearing, members discussed how busy and distracted caregivers were more likely to forget to drop children off at day care and tragically leave them locked in a car. More than half of all hot car deaths in the last 20 years were accidental.
Dunn’s bill (A3277) would codify policies that currently exist in many child care centers and guarantee consistency in communication between parents and facilities across the state.
“During the state of emergency, parents have declined doctor visits and reports of child abuse to the state hotline have decreased. We know that the issues of abuse and neglect haven’t disappeared, but we certainly have less eyes on our children than we used to,” explained Dunn. “Let’s get this law on the books so we can ensure everyone has the same expectations and we put the safety of children on the top of our priority list.”
The Senate unanimously passed the bill (S559) on July 30.