Elkhorn family fighting for tougher laws on illegal daycares

CREATED Feb 15, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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MADISON- The family of a boy who died in a daycare asks lawmakers to prevent more tragedies with the help of the I-Team.

Hoping some good can come from the death of a little boy -- the family of Ries Lazzeroni packed a hearing room Wednesday morning at the capitol.

The family pleaded with a group of senators to crack down on illegal day cares.

"I just hope something, somehow gets done so this doesn't happen so this doesn't happen anymore," said Ries' father David Lazzeroni.

The daycare where Ries Lazzeroni died is the prime example of a weakness the I-Team exposed in Wisconsin law.

It ignored a 2006 order from the Department of Children and Families' to stop operating illegally.

It was still illegal in 2010 -- when little Ries died there.

State Senator Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) drafted a bill after the I-Team uncovered four infant deaths in ten months -- all in illegal daycares.

"Is the cost of administrating a program such as this more important than a child's life?  I say we fall on the side of the children," said Coggs.

The bill discussed Wednesday would increase random inspections of problem day cares.

It would add two new inspectors to DCF as well as creating a statewide hotline for reporting illegal child care providers.

As difficult as it was for David Lazzeroni to go before the committee -- he is determined to force the Department of Children and Families to do better.

"I don't think these state agencies are doing their jobs.  It's just showing up every day, you should be passionate about your work or you shouldn't be working," said David Lazzeroni.

State Sen. Coggs has found bi-partisan support for this bill.  Committee chair Van Wanggaard signed on as a co-author, which increases the likelihood it will advance.