Zealous Regulators, Dangerous Grandparents, and a Prosecutor’s Discretion: A Child Care Round-Up

Officious Regulation Restricts Supply
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is cracking
down on so-called Parent’s Day Out programs, which offer part-time
child care services and are exempt from licensing. The TDHS (which
decided it had not been enforcing existing law) will now require
centers to obtain a license if they operate more than twice a week.
Providers worry they will have to offer fewer hours or jack up
prices on beleaguered parents to comply with the many
requirements.
Licensed programs that look after more than 13 children must
abide by 80 pages of
regulations. For instance, centers must:

provide 50 square feet per child on playgrounds,
provide 30 square feet per child in nap rooms,
have written lesson plans,
not force toilet training on a child too soon,
hold naptime and snacktime at the same time each day,
and conduct classes in the first floor of a building.

So
Parents Turn to UNSAFE Providers
According to a study presented at the American Academy of
Pediatrics’ (AAP) conference this Sunday,
grandparents are unaware of the latest directives from the AAP
regarding child safety. Of the 49 grandparents surveyed, nearly
three-quarters thought walkers were good devices to help kids learn
to walk, almost half thought having stuffed animals in cribs was
fine, and nearly a quarter would place a child under two years old
in a forward-facing car seat—all practices the AAP deems
inadvisable. Moreover, 56 percent didn’t know infant should sleep
face up (to prevent against sudden infant death syndrome).
An estimated 2.8 million grandparents were primary caregivers in
2011—up almost 20 percent since 2000 (via the U.S. Census’ American
Community Survey). Grandparents may be an attractive infant-care
option because centers cost
more—on average—than college tuition (for in-state students at
four-year public schools). ;
…And Malicious Prosecutions!
A Washington County, Minnesota, jury took less than half an hour
to
exonerate a day care provider accused—by a disgruntled
parent—of locking children barefoot in a shed this past February to
avoid inspectors. Although there was no evidence beyond the
accusation—all three children denied the charges—social workers and
prosecutors went ahead with the case and “all things being equal,
we would charge another person under like circumstances again,”
said Fred Fink of the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

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Zealous Regulators, Dangerous Grandparents, and a Prosecutor’s Discretion: A Child Care Round-Up

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