Proposed changes to the code of daycare centers and the expansion of childcare in Moscow
In general, the Moscow Child Care Code is stricter than the Idaho State Child Care Code, and many of the amendments discussed brought the Moscow Code closer to being more like the state code. Some of the amendments would include increasing the child-to-provider ratio to allow for more children to be admitted.
The current code and proposed changes are available here. Some of the suggested changes were to increase ratios and the points system to increase the number of children per child care provider. City Council heard from affected child care providers, parents and community members during the public comment period.
Dulce Kersting-Lark spoke during the public comment period and shared that the childcare deficit in Moscow is too large for these amendments to adequately address the shortage of infant care and childcare available in Moscow. She feels that the problem is too big for these changes to solve the problem.
The child care gap in Moscow, Idaho, according to childcaregap.org, a bipartisan political group, is 290 to 290 children who potentially need child care in Moscow, Idaho. The same policy group also estimates potential revenue loss, looking at lost household income, lost business productivity and the impact on tax revenue. The immediate potential loss of annual revenue for Moscow is estimated at $5.2 million at the low end and $8.2 million at the high end.
The long-term revenue loss for Moscow due to the childcare deficit is estimated at $13.3 million at the low end and $20.3 million at the high end. Another community member shared that Idaho is only 1 in 4 states that do not provide state-funded early childhood care. This report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office confirms that officials in four states — Idaho, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming — said they had no state preschool program.
The Idaho Chamber Alliance’s legislative priorities are to support education and child care policies that will strengthen our workforce by supporting on-site or cooperative child care options in businesses to facilitate the returning Idahoans in caretaking positions to the workforce, supporting opportunities for early expansion-early childhood education and advocating for continuous improvement for teachers.
Earlier this year, Governor Little recommended to the Idaho Legislature that $50 million in federal ARPA funds be distributed through the Workforce Development Council to expand health services. in-state child care and provide child care expansion grants. This initial figure of $50 million was reduced to $15 million during the last legislative session.
From the Idaho Workforce Development Council on expanding child care in the state of Idaho: “Child care is one of the most critical for parents to successfully participate in the labor market. Since the pandemic, labor force participation rates in Idaho have declined, and one of the main factors is the lack of child care options. According to Idaho’s most recent child care gap assessment, 74,670 children have a potential need for child care, and there are only 55,850 child care spaces.
The first round of Child Care Expansion Grant applications must be submitted by August 1, 2022, but one of the eligibility requirements for the Child Care Expansion Grant is that the entity must comply with local and state child care licensing requirements. In a state that does not offer publicly funded child care, it is essential that our local child care centers are able to meet the eligibility criteria to apply for grants through the Development Council. workforce or the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness.