The Networks Northwest and Public Sector Consultants did a study that found what we all already know – there are not enough daycare providers in Northern Michigan. They needed a study to tell them that? They say daycares are down as much as 30 percent from several years ago while the population is up. We already knew that.
Some people say (credibly), that it’s because daycare licensing officials are abrasive and adversarial. They say officials look for reasons to investigate and shut people down for relatively minor infractions, without weighing the public interest, i.e., the public need for daycares. They say that licensing officials are looking for reasons to say aht-at-ah, rather than looking for solutions and considering all of the circumstances.
Some people say that daycare providers are just going underground. I don’t believe that most are, or there wouldn’t be such a shortage. There’s always some black market for anything, but banning an activity (unlicensed child care) usually does reduce the activity.
I love this article, which quotes the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber representatives suggest that small businesses should provide daycare for employees. To prove that it can work, they reference Munson. Munson. The largest employer in the area. Is the example of what small businesses should do? That makes sense. In-house daycare isn’t something that a small business could ever conceive of doing. And the article even says that small business owners say that they can’t because of the regulations. You know, the regulations that independent daycare owners point to as being unreasonable, along with unreasonable “enforcement” that makes the regulations far more onerous than they’re even meant to be. And if free child care becomes expected of small businesses, wouldn’t the businesses just have an incentive not to hire people with young kids? How could society ever police that kind of hiring discrimination?
It’s going to continue until politicians do something about it. Unfortunately, Daddy Inman is too busy sending fat checks to sweep TCAPS student count scams under the rug, so it doesn’t look like they’re going to get to it any time soon.