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Friday, August 17, 2007

The end of home-based child care in Georgia?

I was talking to my girlfriend, who happens to be my children’s child care provider, and she was telling me about a law or something that is up for discussion in Georgia – especially Clayton and Fayette counties – about the attempt to make it impossible for individuals to have a home-based child care business. The reasons, she said, ranged from “brings down the property value of the neighbor” to “takes business away from child care centers.” I was outraged.

I believe that for a lot of families home-based child care is the only alternative. You – and your children – often get the instruction, stability and consistency of a center in a caring, home environment. At least, that’s been my experience.

Although my oldest daughter had to go to a center, on an Air Force base, beginning at 6 weeks old (I was in the military and didn’t have a choice), I began using home-based child care when she was about 2 years old. The difference in care and the flexibility were unmatched. I don’t recall there being 24-hour centers 16 years ago when she was born so home daycares were the best choice for me.

Anyway, back to my girlfriend… She began her business in her home about six years ago and recently moved into her own building. Due to overhead costs and a delay with the Department of Human Resources approval she may have to give up the building because she isn’t able to offer services out of the building until the approval but still has to pay the rent and utilities. Not offering services means no new families, which means no additional revenue.

If she has to give up the building and “they” say home-based child care businesses aren’t allowed how will she make a living? Where will the parents put their children and how will they be able to afford it? Well, she could go back to the healthcare field? Negative. Her licenses and such expired years ago and she didn’t renew because of her business venture. The parents could quit their jobs and watch their own children. That’s silly.

Since I can’t come up with a viable solution, or any facts about it, I think the only solution is for parents and child care providers (home based and otherwise) to ban together and make sure this doesn’t happen. In the meantime, here are a couple of resources for parents and childcare providers:
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