Minnesota’s day-care providers are quitting in droves. Here’s why.
Requiring fingerprints and mugshot-like photos of children whose parents provide child care in their homes are examples of the unnecessary regulations lawmakers say are causing providers to quit.
“It is very hurtful to them to have a business that subjects their children to this kind of process,” said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake. She said providers’ children shouldn’t be treated like criminals and required to take a photo similar to wanted posters hung up in a post office.
The Minnesota Senate passed several bills Monday loosening regulations for day cares amid concerns the rules are driving child care providers out of business and worsening a shortage that’s most acute in rural areas.
Lawmakers have expressed alarm about a growing number of day care providers who’ve closed or left the profession, decrying low pay, burnout and frustrations over the regulations.
The number of child care providers in Minnesota has dropped in recent years, from 11,000 in 2011 to about 8,000, making it tough for parents to find daycare. Child-care advocates say more providers are considering leaving the business if nothing is done.
“Most of the regulation that has come down in the last eight years has nothing to do with safety of the children in our care,” said Julie Seydel, public policy director for the Minnesota Association of Child Care professionals. Instead, providers face more mandatory paperwork and training than ever before.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Two of the Senate proposals passed unanimously and the third, Kiffmeyer’s bill to make background checks for providers’ children less intrusive, was approved 59-5. Altogether the bills make modest changes to some oversight and licensing requirements.
The bills modify rules and regulations put in place to ensure children’s safety in day cares after an uptick in deaths and injuries. Lawmakers said Monday many of the more onerous requirements came from rulemaking by the Department of Human Services.