Alabama watch focuses on keeping families safe

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Alabama Watch is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan consumer research and education organization that focuses on the concerns of Alabama families and small businesses.

One of its primary focuses is on product safety, especially children's product safety. Alabama Watch feels that this area should be of utmost concern to the general public, but it suffers from lack of publicity.

According to Alabama Watch, an important part of consumer protection is the intervention of state and federal agencies in the marketplace. In addition to the action of regulatory agencies, private lawsuits based on state and federal laws provide important safeguards for consumers. There is little doubt, however, that the most effective consumer protection occurs when consumers are educated, and thus able to protect themselves in their daily lives, exercising good judgment in their borrowing, purchasing decisions and all other matters that have an impact on their financial well being. Increased consumer education often results in making lawsuits unnecessary.

Alabama Watch united with Alabama AARP, ATLA and the Department of Senior Services staff in 2003 to educate consumers on proposed state legislation that would have severely reduced legal protections for nursing home residents and their families. That coalition, named the Protect Our Families Coalition, successfully recruited consumers of nursing home services to defeat the move.

For two years in a row, Alabama Watch got legislation introduced disallowing credit scoring in insurance, and with the press they received on this issue, they have activated many consumers to fight for this law. Alabama Watch made credit scoring a public issue.

In 2002, a 10-week-old baby died while in a licensed daycare home. Originally ruled a SIDS death, the parents of the child learned that their baby had died as a result of unauthorized and inappropriate medication administered by daycare workers. When they went to the Mobile County District Attorney, they were told no crime had been committed according to Alabama law and that they could only take civil action. Alabama Watch worked with the parents, the daycare community, children's advocates and legislators and got the &#8220Baby Douglas Law” passed in May of 2004.

For more information about Alabama Watch and its advocacies, visit