New daycare regulations take effect

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Back to Article

New daycare regulations take effect

New regs could make childcare problematic

New regs could make childcare problematic

New regs could make childcare problematic

New regs could make childcare problematic

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Round Hill Kids Childcare Center in North Hyde Park has been an important part of the daycare infrastructure in this area since it opened in 2008, providing care for 33 area children on a full or part-time basis.

It is a well-staffed facility with seven full-time employees although only four are required under current child-to-staff ratios. The different rooms at Round Hill Kids are separated by age group. Each is clean and well organized, with a variety of games and activities suited for the particular age group it serves.

“I believe overstaffing helps with staff burn out, and provides amazing quality of care,” said Bambi Hoadley, who purchased the facility in 2014.

Despite Round Hill Kids being a thriving business over the years, it now finds itself in jeopardy with two new regulations put forth by the Vermont Department of Families that took effect in September of 2018.

Both regulations raise the bar for who qualifies to work in the field.

Regulation, which governs teacher associates, requires an associate to be at least 20 years old, have a high school diploma and a Vermont Early Childhood Career Ladder Level Three certificate or an associate’s degree in early childhood education, Human or Child Development, Elementary Education or Child and Family Services.

On top of this, the regulation requires a year of experience working with young children, or a certificate of completion from an apprenticeship program or community college.

Regulation which governs Teacher’s Assistance is equally lengthy, with similar requirements.

“It’s caused a financial hardship for me because I have had to pay for multiple job listings with no results,” said Hoadley.”We had to shut down a classroom for about 2 months to allow a staff member to go on maternity leave, because we had no one qualified.”

According to a statement on the DCF website, the new regulations came into effect because research indicates a direct correlation between a young child’s development and the level of expertise and education of the adults they interact with.

“We tried to minimize changes in staff qualifications to respect and conserve the current workforce in child care and preschool programs,” the website says.

The response from Hoadley, however, paints a very different picture.

“No one is qualified in this field according to regulations,” says Hoadley.

In 2017 Vermont’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care found that nearly 50 percent of Vermont’s infants and toddlers with working parents are not in a regulated child care program, a statistic that often comes down to affordability. Working class Vermonters who do not meet the income requirements of federal subsidies often find the high price of childcare unaffordable.

Enrollment is $50 per day at Round Hill Kids, but according to Hoadley it will have to be increased due to these new regulations if she hopes to stay in business.

“This will affect families if we have to pay a teacher more money to come on board to meet the regulations,” Hoadley said.

According to Representative Dan Noyes, the issue of child care regulations is one that is not easily navigated by the state legislators. “A lot of the funding for childcare subsidies comes from federal money under the condition that these requirements are met,” Noyes says. “Vermont doesn’t have the ability to provide this money for working families. There’s still work to be done on this. We need to make sure these providers can run a business while working within the guidelines of DCF and the Feds. We need to make sure the businesses are able to exist in our community. I’m interested in how to improve the system. If people have ideas, I would love to hear them,” Noyes said.

For businesses like Round Hill Kids and the families of the children enrolled there, these solutions can’t come fast enough.