A new bill (HB 159) has been introduced in the Utah State House to establish a new Child Care Center Licensing Committee. The proposed committee will consist of five individuals — four of whom will be licensed child care center owners. Having a regulatory committee comprised primarily of the people being regulated by the committee sets up a number of potential problems, as the committee would be made up of individuals who are creating policies to regulate themselves. There will be no provisions in place to prevent the committee members from making decisions to improve their “bottom line” rather than protecting children.

Multiple stakeholders should be involved in making regulatory decisions about licensing child care centers. The current best practices recommendations from the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) are for child care licensing committees to include parents/guardians, service providers, child advocates, professionals in medical and child development fields, and representatives of funding and professional training groups.

Any child care licensing group needs to have a balance of representation to ensure that children’s health, safety and quality of experience are preserved. Please contact your representatives to encourage them to vote against HB 159.

Jared Lisonbee

Salt Lake City