News and HeadlinesState News

Actions

State childcare changes cause concern among providers, parents

The state has changed the number of children an unlicensed childcare facility is able to take care of.
Child Care 3.jpg
Child Care 1.jpg
Child Care 2.jpg
Child care 5.jpg
Child care 6.jpg
Child Care 7.jpg
CHILD CARE 8.jpg
Posted at 8:40 PM, May 31, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Access to safe and affordable childcare can be hard to come by here in Indiana. To help provide more options for parents, the state legislature made some significant changes.

The state has changed the number of children an unlicensed childcare facility is able to take care of. However, providers who are licensed feel this could be dangerous for kids since unlicensed providers usually have little oversight from the state.

KellyDawn Jones has been providing family childcare for 15 years. She has worked to get every certification she can to make her childcare facility high quality.

Child Care 1.jpg

"I'm not just a provider, I am a mom who opened my program when my daughter was two-and-a-half. I couldn't find childcare,” Jones, founder of Love Your Child's Care, said. “I knew I wanted my kid to have a quality learning experience."

Jones runs her program out of her home but is certified and licensed. That means she and her employees are background checked, drug tested and must have several certifications to operate.

That is not the case for unlicensed facilities. According to the state's website, they just must follow basic health and safety standards.

Jones says the state doesn't check in on those care options like they do on licensed facilities.

Child Care 7.jpg

“So, if you are unlicensed, you're unregulated. Nobody is checking on the children randomly throughout the year,” Jones said. “There is no one checking to see if there is a person with a bad background coming in at nap time. I have people that will show up out of nowhere and check to make sure things are the way they should be."

Child care 5.jpg

Now, unlicensed facilities will be able to care for more children.

During this last legislative session, lawmakers passed House Enrolled Act 1102. It allows unlicensed facilities to care for eight children as opposed to six.

It's a bill many lawmakers spoke out against over safety concerns. Parents WRTV spoke with feel similarly.

Child Care 3.jpg

"Some people might think they are doing a good thing and if they are not following certain regulations, how do we know that they will know what to do to be safe,” Jasmine Johnson, a mom of two in Daycare at Love Your Child's Care, said. “I just think that it is a scary situation."

Child care 6.jpg

"I didn't know that they actually allowed that,” Sean Adair, a dad of two in Daycare at Love Your Child's Care, said.  “So, it's kind of weird. I mean, you wouldn't let an unlicensed surgeon work on your body."

CHILD CARE 8.jpg

That's why Jones hopes speaking out will give parents a warning when they are looking for childcare.

"This is a huge warning,” Jones said. “In fact, I am wondering how long it will take for the worst things to happen."

Child Care 2.jpg

Other concerns that providers like Jones have is that lowering the age of workers will continue to keep wages in the early childhood care sector low, a topic the state is currently studying and trying to resolve.

We reached out to FSSAA to see when these changes will go into effect and they replied with the following statement. They also have an FAQ page with details about the changes.

"The Indiana General Assembly tasked the Early Learning Advisory Committee with evaluating existing regulations and recommending, among other things, ways to streamline administrative burdens, program standards and reporting requirements for child care providers while maintaining health and safety standards.

ELAC commissioned The Policy Equity Group (PEG), which worked with providers, including family child care homes, industry stakeholders and ELAC members. The group shared its findings at ELAC’s May 14 public meeting. ELAC members voted unanimously to approve the recommendations.

The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is currently reviewing recommendations and will begin the rule promulgation process July 1. Any changes to Indiana Code [in.gov] will have to go through the traditional legislative process in 2025."