Push for New Daycare Regulations Around Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR-- Arkansas daycare centers are bracing for sweeping reform.

The state is considering changes that could raise safety and education standards as well as costs for providers and parents.

Adventureland owner Melissa Taschuk is preparing to change course to accommodate the proposed set of state regulations.

"The changes are made to make the process of child care more efficient, more safe for children. They are moving more toward education in the facility," says DHS Public Information Coordinator Kate Luck.

Arkansas has 2465 licensed child care providers. The Department of Human Services hopes to change the staff-child ratio and require a bachelor's degree for day care directors to make it easier to implement mandatory education curriculum.

"We are seeing a lot of states require this and Arkansas is just coming up to where the rest of the country is," says Luck.

Taschuk says her directors don't have B.A. degrees but she doesn't necessarily believe they need them.

"They have years of training, I think that could be accomplished without a bachelor's degree," she says.

She also agrees with the need to teach even the youngest at Adventureland but worries that hiring more staff to meet new ratio requirements could raise prices for parents already paying $60-130 a week.

"We don't want to have to pass those expenses along to our families," Taschuk says.

She's educating herself and other providers on the proposed changes to protect a profession she says is too rewarding to give up.

Taschuk says, "You have to love it, you have to love the kids or it won't be worth it in the end."

Providers and parents still have a chance to voice their concerns at public meetings. The next hearing in Central Arkansas is June 12th at 10 a.m. at 101 East Capitol Avenue in Little Rock.

Click here to read the proposed changes.

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