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The Voice - April 24, 2015

House Bill 474 Would Make Uneven Child Care Playing Field Even Worse

 

NCLCCA is always monitoring legislative activity on behalf of our provider members.  We are able to do this with the help of lobbyists and your membership!  


A number of bills have been introduced in the NC General Assembly that would impact child care providers.  Read about two of them here and let us know what YOU think about them by sending us an email.  NCLCCA is a member-driven organization that values your input when it comes to our important advocacy work on behalf of child care providers.


House Bill 474 – Healthy Out-of-School Recognition Program is backed by the NC Alliance of YMCAs and appears to be designed to help address childhood obesity.  It would create a voluntary recognition program called the “Healthy Out-of-School Time” (or HOST) program – to be administered by DCDEE – that would recognize child care programs on a website and with a certificate that participate in the program and agree to meet a list of requirements.   


The trouble is that House Bill 474 would exempt “track-out” programs from the definition of “child care” if they are designed for school-age children who attend year-round schools.  Exempting these programs from the definition of child care would effectively relieve these programs from the rules and regulations under which licensed child care providers that provide out-of-school care must operate.


NCLCCA Position on House Bill 474 :  NCLCCA cannot support this bill in its current form unless we hear different from our members.  We serve school-age children, too, both before and after school and during the summer.  This bill makes an already uneven playing field even worse.  If licensing requirements, rules and regulations are too burdensome or costly for these programs, then they should be changed for all providers instead of exempting certain providers from having to meet them. 


Status: The NC House passed House Bill 474 on April 21, 2015.  The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.  

Senate Bill 551 – Out of School Services is a bill in the state Senate that is similar bill to House Bill 474 (see above), though not identical.  This bill has similar language creating the new “HOST” program to be administered by DCDEE to target childhood obesity, but it does not appear to contain the language in House Bill 474 that would exempt track-out programs for students in year-round schools from the definition of “child care.” 

 

Another difference in Senate Bill 551 can be found at the very end of the bill:


“Part III: Modify Competitive After-School Grant Program"

“The State Board of Education shall permit existing after-school learning programs for at-risk students to participate and be eligible to receive two-year grants of up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) a year under the After-School Quality Improvement Grant Program established pursuant to Section 8.19 of S.L. 2014-100.”

 

NCLCCA Position on Senate Bill 551: Because this bill does not include the exemption from the definition of “child care” for track-out programs, and because it contains the language about the “Competitive After-School Grant Program,” which we believe is good for providers, NCLCCA is not opposed to this bill at this time.


Status: This bill has been introduced and referred to the Senate Rules Committee.  It has yet to receive its first committee hearing in the Senate.  

Let YOUR State Legislators Know How You Feel!

In addition to letting NCLCCA know how you feel about these bills, our state legislators need to hear directly from providers in their districts, who they represent.  You can find out who YOUR representatives and senators are on the NC General Assembly website.

  • Put your home address in the NC “House of Representatives” map on the “Who Represents Me” page on the General Assembly website. 
  • Next, click on the purple number of your legislative district.
  • Then, click the “Open Member Page” link – here you will find the email address and phone number of your legislator, along with a picture of him or her.

It only takes a few minutes to communicate with your elected state leaders about your business and the potential impact of bills like these on not only your business, but also the children and families you serve.  Nothing has more of an impact on state legislators than hearing from their constituents! 

Please copy NCLCCA on the emails to your legislators, forward them to us after you send them, or just let us know you did it!  That way we can follow up as an organization to re-emphasize your points and position!

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of NCLCCA and the child care industry in NC!

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