Senate Republicans today will address the problem of inadequate, expensive child care with a series of proposals that encourage existing providers to stay in business and lower the barriers of entry for new providers.
The proposals include:
- S.F. 3310 (Weber) – Makes staffing requirements more flexible, reduces unnecessary paperwork for child care providers, makes it easier to hire caretakers, provides more transparency for providers and the public, and requires the Department of Human Services to identify onerous regulatory burdens and take steps to reduce them.
- S.F. 2683 (Kiffmeyer) – Exempts most minor children of in-home child care providers from providing fingerprints and photographs for background study purposes. Child care providers found this new requirement intrusive and degrading to their children.
- S.F. 2685 (Lang) – Exempts child care providers from a burdensome and unnecessary training mandate meant for caretakers of people with disabilities.
- A new subcommittee on child care availability will be established to study the regulatory and administrative barriers that exist for child care providers and develop recommendations to reduce the burden.
“Child care providers face a nightmare scenario of overregulation. It’s really no wonder so many family child care providers have been dropping out of the business at an alarming rate, leaving families without options and desperate for care,” said Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne). “The situation is quickly becoming a crisis in Greater Minnesota. The reforms we’ve proposed are a preliminary first step toward increasing choices for parents who want to work.”
Child care providers testified that rules and regulations imposed on the industry by DHS are increasingly punitive and do not pass the common-sense test. For instance, child care providers must sometimes turn away siblings when their ages are not perfectly spaced to allow for a certain ratio of caretakers-to-children, even when the overlap is only a month or two. Something as simple as a misplaced bobby pin could cost a provider hundreds of dollars in fines, regulations are repetitive, and continuous education requirements are unreasonable. These issues are pushing providers out of the business, creating a crisis-level child care shortage, and limiting parents’ career options.
“The child care shortage doesn’t just affect young families. Everyone in our state pays the economic cost when parents are forced drop out of the workforce to stay home with their children because there are no other options available,” said Sen. Andrew Lang (R-Olivia). “The state needs to get out of the way of parents and child care providers so they can solve this problem together.”