/ Letters / Childcare crisis

Childcare crisis

February 18, 2020

To the Editor:
Many parents know, there is a daycare crisis in the state of Wisconsin. In 2010 Wisconsin had 9,000 licensed daycares and in 2019 it dropped to 4,000. Many of us believe it is due to the overregulation. Obviously, something is wrong if we are losing so many daycare providers. I think the state of Wisconsin should try and look at the childcare needs through a different set of eyes. I would like to address the shortage of in-home daycare because I have many years of experience in the area. The state should not limit a parent's options for childcare by forcing them to choose a licensed provider and I’m not saying anything negative about licensed care only that parents should have a choice unless the state is paying for their childcare. Private pay families should be able to choose a private home. They should be able to choose, without prejudice, the person who is in essence “co-parenting" their children. This is one of the most important decisions a parent has to make in their child’s life. Many children are in the provider's care 45 to 50 hours a week, it is a child’s second home. Many unregulated daycare providers have been given “orders” to stop caring for children, not because they were harming children ... only because they did not have a license. There is no evidence to show that licensed care is safer than unregulated care. As we’ve heard in the news both regulated and non-regulated daycares have had issues with harming children. Every profession has “bad” people and there’s no regulation to prevent that. Anyone who has children, especially an infant, knows the struggle in finding a trustworthy person to care for their child and options should not be taken away from parents when they do find someone. The parents see the provider every day and how they interact with the children in their care. The parents are the best judge as to the capabilities of the provider. Parents should not be limited in their options of who is helping to raise their child. Parents have many choices they are allowed to make in their child’s life ... school choice, home school, religion, what doctor they go to, what they feed their child, the choice to end their child’s life by abortion (whether you or I agree with that doesn’t matter) etc, but the decision for a parent to keep their child safe in the care of someone they trust is somehow not acceptable. Many in-home daycare providers are caring for children of their friends, or children that the provider's own children went to school with and in some cases one of the parents used to be cared for by the provider and now they want their children to go to that same provider. There is a level of trust there that is more comforting than taking their children to a licensed provider they do not know personally. Even if you disagree with unregulated daycare, (then take your child to a licensed provider) it should be a choice made by each individual family as to who is co-parenting their child/children. There are many unregulated providers that are doing a wonderful job with the children in their care. The children are a part of their extended family and lifelong bonds are formed with the family. We will always have unregulated daycares; it’s time to stop making it against the law. Legislators can ease their minds by highly recommending licensed facilities and making sure parents are aware of the risk they might feel is associated with unregulated care. Please write your local legislators and voice your concerns. They are elected officials and should stand up for parents that want the right to choose who is best suited to provide care to their children. Let’s stop breaking apart daycare families, it hurts the children!

Heidi Hall

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