MURDERERS, child abusers and drug traffickers will be banned from working as child-minders from Tuesday. They and others convicted of serious crimes are to be barred from taking jobs in child-care centres under a new law that aims to protect children from abuse and neglect which carries penalties of two years in jail and a $100,000 fine. Social Welfare Department figures show that in each of the past three years, an average of six children were physically abused by their minders. The victims included a two-year-old boy who was stabbed 80 times with a safety pin by a babysitter two years ago. And last year two children died at the hands of their minders. There is no control over activities where care is provided to fewer than six children under six years old. Anna Mak Chow Suk-har, acting Assistant Director of Social Welfare, said yesterday children would be better protected under the new law. She appealed for people who wanted to be child-minders to apply for a certificate. 'The certificate can prove if somebody is suitable to act as child-minder. We will make inquiries with the police and the Coroners' Court. 'Parents can then check if the minders carry such certificates,' she said. The law does not apply to those looking after relatives' children or domestic helpers looking after a child in the child's own home. Mrs Mak said the Child Care Centres (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 would exempt some child-care centres from registration. The centres must be run by non-profit making organisations such as church bodies, women's centres or mutual aid committees. They should take care of no more than 14 children aged below six and each child should enjoy a minimum net floor area of 16 square feet. Mrs Mak said: 'We hope to give parents more choices of where to place their children. Mutual help child-care centres operating in flexible hours can help tackle the problem of leaving children unattended at home. 'We estimate there are more than 10 such mutual aid child-care centres. We hope there will be more in the future, say each district has 10.' At present more than 350 child-care centres are offering 42,000 places.