The New York State Senate today announced that a bill to better protect children and provide more assurance to parents seeking at-home child care was given final passage and will be sent to the Governor for review. The bill (S9070A), known as Lulu and Leo’s Law, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C-I, Staten Island), establishes the crime of misrepresentation by, or on behalf of, a caregiver for children.
Senator Lanza said, “This new law will hopefully prevent another child care tragedy like the one that happened to the Krim family. The bottom line is that the person that the Krims hired was not the person that they were led to believe that she was because they were lied to. This new law will protect children and their parents who hire a caregiver. When someone recommends an employee who would be entrusted with the lives of other peoples’ babies, they should not lie.”
Current law makes it illegal to misrepresent an applicant’s credentials and qualifications for employment as a staff member or a volunteer at a child care facility. However, this law does not extend to prospective caregivers for children in the home.
In 2012, Lulu and Leo Krim were brutally murdered by their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega. Ortega stabbed Lulu, age 6, and her younger brother Leo, age 2, to death in their Manhattan home. The children’s parents, who had paid and trusted Ortega to care for their children, relied on fabrications of Ortega’s past child care experiences when she in fact had no experience at all. Ortega was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder, despite her claims of mental illness, and sentenced to life in prison last month.
In response to this horrific incident, the new legislation would make it a Class A misdemeanor for a caregiver to make a false written statement that misrepresents their background for employment. It also criminalizes providing false written statements about someone else’s qualifications as a caregiver. This would help give parents and guardians a greater level of comfort when using personal references and testaments of experience in the hiring of caregivers and prevent future tragedies.
The bill has already passed the Assembly and will head to the Governor’s desk for review.