Dan Sullivan, a Republican lawmaker from Arkansas who aggressively advocates for less regulation of the child care industry in Arkansas, has come under fire after a child died in a van at a child care facility owned by Sullivan.
Four employees of Ascent Children’s Health Services, a child care facility that cares for special needs children have been fired over the incident, KATV reports.
Dan Sullivan is a fierce advocate for less regulation of the child care industry in Arkansas. But had existing regulations been followed at one of his centers, five-year-old Christopher Gardner would be alive.
“It didn’t take them but two minutes or one minute to go back and get off their lazy asses and go see where the kid’s at,” says Carrie Smith, the grandmother of Christopher Gardner. “They didn’t check for my grandbaby.”
The family of Christopher Gardner got an apology from Ascent Children’s Health Services on Wednesday, according to the report.
A statement released by CEO Dan Sullivan reads in part “…we know our staff did not follow company policies and procedures, and if they had, this tragedy would not have occurred. We will continue to reach out to the family to see how we can be of assistance during this difficult time.”
Representative Sullivan told a House committee in February that the child care industry is vastly overregulated and that somebody has to take a stand.
In April, Sullivan appeared before the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission and requested it reduce a new requirement that 50% of all child care employees at any facility be certified in CPR and first aid.
Act 576, the only bill sponsored by Sullivan that became law during the 91st General Assembly, stripped the commission of its authority to regulate child care centers.
Authorities are outraged:
“This child was going to school and his parents were putting him on a bus,” says West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes. “No bad decisions. Just a horrible lack of effort on the part of people taking care of this child.”