Local Owner Shares Frustration With Child Care Regulations
MANKATO, MN- Tensions between child care providers and the state has been on the rise, especially private facilities, who feel they are being targeted with inconsistent regulations.
Here We Grow Early Childhood Center owner Elizabeth Bangert says, "There's a citation for someone mopping the floor but yet another center has a citation for someone not mopping the floor. There are no interpretive rules for centers and it feels a bit punitive and often times there are fines attached."
For two months, Bangert and a colleague compiled public data from the Department of Human Services (DHS) website regarding child care centers.
Among a multitude of findings, she found 103 of 133 Head Start programs in the state had no record of being inspected since 2011.
She also noted instances where a teacher no longer works with children because a kid grabbed a glass of milk from another child and received a food allergy, yet when a child was left behind in a school bus and climbed out the window, ultimately hurting themselves, the teacher received only a citation after admitting fault.
The disparity between public and private practices paired together with different interpretations of maltreatment prompted Bangert to travel north and fight all session long for change.
Bangert adds, "If I spent 30 days at the capitol, somebody better answer the question. I'm not going anywhere, this is my business and my house is on the line and these families deserve better. So, someone better do something about it."
The owner of Here We Grow has formed a town hall with local legislators to propose de–regulation over private facilities and taking away power from the DHS.
Bangert adds it's up to parents to keep on speaking out regarding issues with child care, so boys and girls between the ages of one and five can continue to learn and grow within these institutions.
Bangert plans to meet with Representative Jeremy Munson next month to pursue her quest for a solution to the child care crisis.
- KEYC 12