Great job everyone! Our voices were heard! This morning, the City Council struck the home daycare proposal from the agenda. What does this mean? It means it is being sent back to the Board of Directors where it originated - the Oklahoma City Board of Governors for Child Care Centers and Day Camps. Many questions remain, such as why home daycares have no representation on that Board and how the Board was able to come so close to having this type of proposal passed without informing those it would affect. The Mayor says that when/if the proposal comes back, that the state legislature may be involved.
We are very excited about today's success, but we are fully aware that much work needs to be done to prevent this from happening again. This Board had no right trying to force unnecessary and burdensome regulation on an industry that is already well regulated statewide by DHS - with licensing standards that are nationally-recognized as being #1 in the United States. We remain committed to gaining representation for home daycares on this Board to ensure we have appropriate input into any further proposals affecting us. We wish to thank every single person who supported us - this was a group effort and we appreciate every email, phone call, letter - every voice that was brought together in this effort.
Don't forget to join our Facebook group to stay updated on these issues and to continue to support family childcare homes in Oklahoma.
Tuesday morning's City Council meeting (video)
Council meeting 6-10-2014 (video) (some comments here about upcoming proposal)
KOCO News 5:
* City Council won't vote on new daycare regulations (video)
* Daycare owners concerned over proposed changes to in-home daycares (video)
* In-home daycare providers relieved after City Council strikes proposed ordinance from the agenda (video)
* Update: In-home daycare ordinance struck from agenda by council (video)
* Small victory Tues but future still uncertain for Oklahoma City daycares (video)
* Proposed home daycare ordinance struck from City Council agenda (article)
* OKC City Council to consider possible home daycare changes (video)
* OKC proposal would change requirements for home daycare (video)
... more updates to come ...
Proposed changes affecting family chlld care homes in Oklahoma City
Join the discussion on the News9 story - here (FB) and/or here (NewsOK.com)
Today is the day! The Oklahoma City Council is meeting this morning - Tuesday, June 17th, 8:30 am to noon. The address is 200 N. Walker Ave, 3rd Floor. One of the items on their agenda - which has reportedly been put forward by the Fire Department - is proposed changes that will greatly affect family child care homes. They are proposing that child care homes caring for more than 5 children will have to follow the same rules as child care centers. Many of these requirements would be very burdensome and expensive for the average home provider. Some examples are:
* Installing a sink adjacent to the diaper changing station
* Installing either a 3-compartment sink or a commercial dishwasher for sanitation of dishes
* Requiring a separate staff person for food preparation
* Requiring a separate staff person for driving children 3 and under (or a separate staff person to stay at home with them so that school drop-offs and pick-ups can be done).
* Requiring installation of ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms
* Requiring yearly heating system inspections
Secondly - the proposal changes the definition of small family child care homes from 7 children to 5 children. This means that all home providers who currently care for 6 or 7 children will have to either let 2 children go, or become licensed as a large family child care home - which means conforming to these new regulations as well. Becoming licensed as a large family child care home means that the provider must have at least 12 college credit hours in child development or early childhood education. So obtaining a large family home license is not just something they can do right away. It would take a year or more to get the required college credits. This requirement alone will shut down tons of small home providers!
It's important that providers, parents, and all concerned citizens give our input at this meeting. If these changes pass, it will put many home daycare providers of us out of business! One provider says it perfectly:
Ultimately, this hurts not only the providers themselves, many of whom are lower-income or middle-class mothers who can't work outside the home in a way that makes enough money to justify employment, but it also hurts the lower-income and middle-class parents, many of whom are single mothers, who depend on the quality but less expensive care and flexibility that a home daycare provides. All that will happen is that you are going to drive a lot of good people out of work, with no appreciable lowering of city-wide risk. Or more likely, this will drive home daycares back underground and actually INCREASE the risk of problems. We need to make sure as many providers, and parents attend this meeting.
Please read the document(s) below and contribute your input using the Comments form. Your input is important! The more input and variety of opinion we have, the better organized we will be when we attend the meeting.
It's possible that many of these changes are not as alarming as they seem. There are sure to be those reading this that are more knowlegeable about these things. If so, please provide your input here as well and help explain this to us providers.
Oklahoma City home daycare provider Misty Caplinger is hosting a meeting at her home Saturday, June 14th at 5:00 pm. Providers and parents are all welcome to attend. The meeting is to share information and organize everyone for the City Council meeting. Her address is 8232 NW 112th Street (Hefner & Council).
The next strategy meeting will be TONIGHT at Johnnie's Charcoal at 6629 NW Expressway at 7:00 p.m.. Providers, parents, and all concerned citizens are urged to attend. This will be our last chance to organize before Tuesday morning's City Council meeting!
In the meantime, there are many city officials that you can call and e-mail NOW - make your voice heard!
* Wondering who your City Council representative is? Check the map here
Please share this page with everyone you know and encourage them to input and share. Plan to attend the City Council meeting - support home providers and give your input to the City Council! Thank you!
Do you want to get involved? Can you speak at the City Council meeting? Or can you be at the meeting to show your support? Or can you volunteer your time in the next few days to help us make phone calls and gather information? If so, please join our Facebook group and let us know what you can do. In this group, you will also find the most current updates on this issue.
Full text of the proposed ordinances - 23 pages (PDF)
Summary of proposed changes, with comments and questions (PDF)
News4's story (video): it appears they have updated this with the story posted on 6/16
News9's story (video)