(INDIANAPOLIS) - The father of a 1-year-old boy who drowned in a baptismal pool at a church on Indianapolis' northwest side during day care is speaking out about his son's death.
Juan Cardenas said he's struggling with the loss of his son after day care workers at the Praise Fellowship Assembly of God Church found the child floating in about two feet of water in the uncovered pool.
"There's not any good explanation for that. To all the parents out there, you are not going to find any good explanation when your son is gone," Cardenas said. "I don't wish any of the pain that I'm going through right now on any of the parents out there."
RTV6's Chance Walser discovered the day care was cited with 18 violations last November, including failing to do background checks on workers and having expired food and baby formula.
United Way Director of Early Childhood Ted Maple said more state regulations are needed for day care facilities.
"People put their trust in these programs without full knowledge of what's required," Maple said.
The day care at Praise Fellowship Assembly of God Church is listed as an unlicensed registered ministry and is not required to follow the same standards as other licensed day cares.
State officials conduct two inspections per year, but only to monitor employee background checks and sanitation.
Bureau of Childcare Administrator Melanie Brizzi said the state provides registered ministries the option to obtain voluntary certifications of higher health and safety standard, but the day care in question does not have that certification.
"We want to make sure children are healthy and safe, and part of that is a clean environment," Brizzi said.
In 2011, state lawmakers authored a bill that would have leveled the playing field for all day cares, but Sen. Patrica Miller stopped the bill from going to a vote.
"I am going to hold the amendment and hold the bill," Miller said. "I think i'm still looking for a compelling reason for the state to start regulating church ministries."
Child advocacy groups said Wednesday's incident is the reason why state day care laws should be adjusted.
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