INDIANAPOLIS — The Policy Equity Group based out of Washington, D.C. has been commissioned to evaluate Indiana’s childcare regulations.
The group will then give recommendations on how to overhaul the state’s current outdated system. Jason Bearce with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce said making it easier for licensed childcare providers to create additional facilities, especially in rural communities, should be a top priority.
”Some of them just make it really difficult for childcare providers to expand or grow,” Bearce said.
Bearce said while he believes many of Indiana’s current childcare regulations were written with good intentions in mind, several of them are now counterintuitive.
”Probably where there’s the most room for improvement, is just making it easier for providers who have an existing track record to open up new sites, particularly what we call microsites that might be placed in an employer’s place of business,” Bearce said.
State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, who chairs the Interim Study Committee for Public Health, said he agrees.
“That would be a big thing for Boys and Girls Clubs, for YMCAs, it would save them money at the administrative level without affecting it seems like, without affecting the quality of the care,” Charbonneau said.
Other key issues include lowering the age a licensed childcare practitioner can work with infants (from 21 to 18), and boosting tech school programs to jumpstart careers of high school students interested in childcare.
”The idea of making regulations more streamlined is a great start,” Adam Alson, president of Appleseed Childhood Education, said.
Alson said while he fully supports fixing outdated regulations, doing so does not get to the heart of the problem.
”None of those things are quite enough to solve the issue,” Alson said. “I think at the end of the day we need to figure out how do we invest in this in a thoughtful manner.”
The Chamber of Commerce says there is a growing interest in what’s being called the “Tri-Share” model. That means the government, the employer community, and parents would split childcare costs.
”It is going to come down to greater investment at all levels, I mean, we’ve kind of been taking an incremental approach as a state up until now,” Bearce said.
Bearce said in coming months, the Chamber will roll out a new employer matching grant program. Meanwhile, the Policy Equity Group will give recommendations to revise the state’s PTQ system in November, and recommendations to revise the state’s childcare regulatory system next summer.