VOICES for Alabama's children

The Alabama Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would allow people to carry a concealed handgun in Alabama without a getting a permit. In the state House, debate has been postponed on a bill that would close a loophole currently exempting faith-based day cares from state regulation.

Senators are scheduled to debate the concealed weapon proposal submitted by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa this evening.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are expected to debate a proposal that would require all day care facilities to be regulated by the state, and would end a longstanding exemption for faith-based facilities.

The bill is currently scheduled at the end of tomorrow’s debate agenda in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Pebblin Warren, the bill's sponsor, says the faith-based loophole leaves children vulnerable to abuse and neglect. VOICES for Alabama's Children says Alabama is one of only seven states broadly exempting faith-based day care facilities from regulation.

State lawmakers are planning to debate a bill that would require all day care facilities to be licensed and end a longstanding exemption for church-affiliated day cares.

The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill later this morning.

VOICES for Alabama's Children, a nonprofit advocacy organization, says Alabama is one of only seven states that exempt faith-based day cares from state regulation. VOICES Executive Director Melanie Bridgeforth says the bill is aimed at protecting children.

A new national report shows Alabama is trailing the rest of the country in overall child well-being.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is out with its annual Kids Count Book this week. The study ranks child welfare based on indicators in four areas including economics, education, health and family. Although Alabama has seen some improvements, the state ranks 46th in the country for economic well-being and 48th in education.

Alabama education professionals are attending this week’s MEGA Conference in Mobile.

Over 2000 individuals preregistered for the event including teachers, administrators, and school nurses. The conference provides professional learning opportunities to help educators enhance their job skills. It's also a chance to build skills to work with students in the classroom. The conference runs until Friday at noon.

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Alabama health officials say preventable child deaths are declining.

State Health Officer Don Williamson says about one-third of all deaths involving Alabama children under 18 are considered preventable. Figures from the state health department show the number of preventable child deaths declined from 387 in 2000 to 278 in 2012.

Williamson says a 1997 state law created a child death review system to look at all unexplained or unexpected child deaths and develop prevention strategies and recommendations.

Alabama Improved In Kids Count Rankings; Is 45th

Jul 25, 2012
KIDS COUNT / Annie E. Casey Foundation

Children in Alabama are still dealing with obstacles as they face the future, but the 2012 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows Alabama children with their best ranking in overall well-being since the data book began publication in 1990.

But it also shows that Alabama still has much work to do in insuring a bright future for children. Alabama ranks 45th in the new data book.