Father continues push for harsher penalties for child care providers despite setback

Posted at 11:06 PM, Jun 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-11 23:06:44-04

WYOMING, Mich.-- A father seeking some justice for the death of his son now has to wait a few more weeks. Zach Fales lost his three month son, Cooper, last year after finding out he had been dead nearly two hours before he brought him home from a Kentwood day care center. Fales is a strong advocate for legislation that would make harsher penalties for child care providers who had children die in their care.

Fales says his sons death could have easily been prevented. The two bills sponsored by State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker would bring felony charges on child care providers who had a child die under their supervision. The bills weren't voted on before summer recess and will likely have to be reintroduced in the fall; something Fales says won't discourage them from pushing forward.

"In my heart, if she was following the rules he'd still be alive" said Fales. "Bottom line."

The bottom line, Fales says, is his son was taken too soon. In February of 2015 he picked him up from Bridges Day Care in Kentwood only to find him dead when he got home.

"She had claimed and is still claiming that he was fine when he left with me and we know that medical evidence shows he'd been gone for basically two hours before I ever even got there" said Fales.

A cause of death was never determined and criminal charges never came.

"Immediately the center was shut down after an investigation and then as a result of that investigation her licence was revoked and that's it" said Fales.

The two bills introduced by Senator Schuitmaker were expected to pass before the start of summer recess on Thursday, but they didn't.

"It's back to square one" said Fales. "It's back to reintroducing the bills, it's back to the Senate committee and then the House committee and then the Senate again."

Fales says its a setback,but it won't stop them from pushing for what he feels needs to happen.

"No this isn't going away" said Fales. "I don't know if somebody has the mindset that if they put this down and won't let it get heard that we're just going to go away. It's not going to happen."

Fales says passing this legislation is something that affects everyone from all walks of life and while it won't bring his son back, it could keep it from happening to another family in Michigan.