04 February 2020 | Education

Bill would strengthen child care licensing, ensure safety

Kansas Action for Children
February 4, 2020

Science tells us that stable, consistently nurturing experiences and relationships early in life shape the architecture of the developing brain. Because the bulk of future development is based on the strength of these early foundations, we must ensure that every Kansas child has the opportunity for those positive experiences. Safe and nurturing child care spaces are essential to a healthy start in life.

Working parents want their children to be taken care of in a safe environment. About 145,000 children under age 6 in Kansas have working parents. This means that every week, these children could need some type of child care so that their parents can go to work.

And that’s why Kansas Action for Children supports Senate Bill 312, which would impose a civil fine for operating a child care facility without a license.

Broadening the authority of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to assess a fine when individuals do not have a child care license will likely deter unlicensed care, increasing safety for children in out of home care. Unlicensed care cannot be monitored in the same ways as licensed care. KDHE licensure includes 1) background checks to ensure providers do not have prior behavior that could put children at risk; 2) basic health and safety training; and 3) annual health and safety inspections. 

Child care regulation works to mitigate the risk of harm to children, helping parents go to work knowing that their children are in safe environments. While unlicensed care is already unlawful, with the exception of cases of “inconsequential care,” this additional measure hopes to serve as another deterrent to such operators and perhaps an encouragement to acquire licensure.  We urge legislators to consider passing SB 312.

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