Last year the Iowa Legislature passed a number of bills to address the need for access to affordable child care. One of those bills established a task force to study the issue. The task force recommended evaluating the restrictions on the number of children an adult can watch in a child care facility.
On Monday, I floor managed Senate File 2268 to address the accessibility and availability of child care. SF 2268 eases the regulations on child care centers and allows them more flexibility on how many children they can accept per adult. The rules are different depending on the ages of the children being watched. Keep in mind they can have other childcare providers under the age of our guidelines that do not count as an adult supervisor. One example of the change is, one adult, as well as, a person(s) under adult aged assistants can now watch seven children two years of age instead of six. This allows young adults to help fill a role in the workforce gap, while allowing parents to access quality childcare.
Surrounding states and the federal government all have less strict regulations than Iowa’s current standards. Those policies have proven reasonable in Illinois, Minnesota, and across the country. In fact, the standards passed this week in the Iowa Senate remain slightly stricter than those states.
SF 2268 is a common-sense approach to addressing both the workforce shortage and the lack of accessible and affordable childcare. It does not create another government program, it does not create a complicated tax credit scheme, and it doesn’t increase the burden on child care providers. It addresses these problems with a traditional conservative approach to reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses. I was happy to manage and support this bill.