“We have had parents at our facility that have had to make this choice that no longer attend our facility and instead we have 11-year-olds watching infants, which I think we can all agree is just not a situation that we want to be in,” Vian said.
Vian also complained that assistant teachers have to pay more than $100 for Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation background checks and other mandatory requirements just to get started.
“Is there any way to help offset this cost, providing scholarships for teachers that cannot afford this because they are looking for jobs?” he asked. “Right now, because of this cost, we are losing qualified individuals in our child care centers because they simply cannot afford to start being a child care provider.”
Johnson said parents have come to her in tears because they can't afford required co-pays to keep their children in her child care center and have complained they were treated rudely when they discussed their concerns with DHS workers.
“It's bombarding us from all sides, but at the same time, we're supposed to step up, go get additional training, go enroll in college classes, do all this,” she said. “Don't we matter, too.”
Jennifer McCord of the Oklahoma Child Care Association said the association supports regulations that benefit children, but is concerned about all the unfunded mandates.
“The regulations are increasing, but there is no money to back up what we're supposed to do,” she said. “It costs more and more and more to run a center ... . Yes, we are trying to protect our children and do what's right for our children, but they also have a business to run and they have to make some money to cover expenses.”
Michelle Owens of Child Care Inc. in Oklahoma City read off a long list of new requirements that will be imposed on child care providers if proposed regulations are approved. She said she is willing to support them — but only if more money is provided.
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The regulations are increasing, but there is no money to back up what we're supposed to do. It costs more and more and more to run a center ... . Yes, we are trying to protect our children and do what's right for our children, but they also have a business to run and they have to make some money to cover expenses.”
Oklahoma Child Care Association