Some Church Child-Care Programs Must Get Licenses

AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State officials say church-sponsored child-care programs such as parents' day out, must either obtain licenses or limit their programs to no more than two days a week.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/X7Hft8 ) the programs have been given until next summer to comply with the rules after Department of Human Services attorneys scrutinized the child-care center law and determined it had been misinterpreted.

Parents' day out programs fill a niche for people who don't need full-time child-care, such as parents who work part-time or stay at home but need a break.

DHS said in a statement that it will work with child care providers over the next year to explore any possible compromise.

"The department is doing all it can to mitigate any burden or hardships caused by the transition. However, it is necessary for us to take steps to comply with the law," the statement reads.

Meanwhile, some providers are lobbying to change the law before the July deadline. Earlier this month, a group of more than 20 parents' day out directors in Williamson County met with members of the state legislature.

Annual licensing fees range from $100 to $500, but state health and safety requirements could force some programs to close, especially if their buildings are deemed inadequate.

Terri Anderson, director of Jacob's Ladder Preschool at Nolensville First United Methodist Church, told the newspaper the change could mean that teachers lose their jobs and parents lose the child care they rely on.

"The impact of that is going to be huge," she said.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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