BOSTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Legislation has been filed that would encourage parents and guardians to inquire about the ability of a person to supervise or care for their child by creating a separate “endangering the welfare of a minor” crime.
Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield) filed the bill and it’s named “An act relative to penalties for violating the duty of care to a child.” The bill would enhance the well-being of children by holding parents or guardians accountable for their disregardful actions.
According to Rep. Coakley-Rivera many children throughout the Commonwealth are put at risk when parents or guardians fail at taking necessary measures to determine if such person being considered to supervise their child is actually suitable.
This legislation requires that parents or guardians must seek information as to whether the person is a registered sex offender, has a history of mental illness, has a suspended driver’s license, has a criminal record, or is a defendant who is the recipient of a restraining order.
“Parents and guardians have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their child by placing them under the appropriate supervision of qualified, trusted individuals,” says Rep. Coakley-Rivera in a statement sent to ABC40 today.
The bill also includes a strict provision that would impose penalties to those in violation of this section by punishing offenders by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years, by a fine of $1,000 or by both.
“Protecting children should always be a top priority for the Commonwealth”, Representative Coakley-Rivera says adding, “Parents or guardians who irresponsibly place their child into the hands of someone who may pose an immediate threat or be neglectful, must take responsibility for their actions as a caregiver. By asking questions and taking simple precautions, parents can avoid placing their children into considerably dangerous, possibly deadly situations.”