Navigating the legal aspects of providing child care
Case TypeProject Stories
Sustainable Development Goals04 Quality Education
As identified in the Workforce Innovation for a Strong Economy (WISE) Plan, one of the big issues that our community is facing with regard to available workforce is the lack of available childcare for potential employees. This is a larger issue for the community than just its impact on workforce, because early childhood development is also a big predictor of future success or future social issues. So, if our community does not have enough quality alternatives for the care of children in their first five years, we may end up with greater need for human services later in life, which can be more expensive and longer-term.
There are a number of different ways that La Crosse County could play a role in the childcare crisis. Such roles could include La Crosse County acting as an employer and looking into providing some type of childcare benefit to help attract employees; La Crosse County may act as an economic development organization which could provide incentives and loan or grant programs to specifically assist child care providers; and La Crosse County may also look at the child care crisis from a regulator’s perspective by analyzing whether there are any regulations that the County Board could impact that would make a positive difference in order to make the child care business model work.
There are a number of potential legal questions that surround the regulation of childcare, and although relevant to all three of the above-mentioned methods of how the County could help with the child care crisis, this research will focus on La Crosse County as an employer.
La Crosse County, as an employer, could open a childcare center at Hillview Health Center, a county owned and operated nursing home. Hillview is not at full capacity and has not been for some time. The county may be able to make use of one of the under-utilized wings of the facility by modifying the wing to be a childcare facility. Most likely, the county would contract with an outside provider to operate the daycare facility, but the county would share certain services to make it more operationally efficient.
Some of the main legal issues that the County must be aware of, and that are addressed in this research document, include facility requirements/regulations, shared services agreements, the idea of a parent-cooperation, caregiver incentives, and intergenerational activities.
This research assumes the county childcare center will function as a Licensed Group Child Care center, a program regulated by DCF 251 where a person for less than 24 hours per day provides care and supervision for 9 or more children.
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