March 31, 2021
Over the years, and with even greater intensity in the last year especially, we’ve seen the evidence mount: access to child care is crucial, the child care workforce is crucial, and the quality of child care matters. We also know that quality doesn’t just happen. Quality takes effort, commitment, and investment.
Every day that hard work is undermined in Maryland when we allow unlicensed providers to carry out services. HB1307, which passed the Maryland House, was to create an exemption for certain program providers as “emergency” legislation. This is not the emergency that needs attention.
The legislation passed the House with a few changes but the bill was still problematic. We should not be in the business of creating a loophole for someone to operate without a license. The public health crisis and economic crisis have presented enormous challenges, but this is not the time to roll back the full approach to licensing in Maryland. We must insist on access to affordable, reliable, licensed child care in all of our diverse child care settings in Maryland.
One of the licensed child care program leaders in Prince George’s may have put it best when she said, “Why are we here? We’ve been over this.”
The bill was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate. And then, as we all prepared testimony for that Senate hearing, the hearing was cancelled. The Senate Committee effectively pressed the “pause” button on a bad bill. You made this possible. Your message was clear: this is not the direction we need to go.
We move forward now, continuing to put together smart strategies and investments. The pandemic crisis and the economic crisis have created enormous challenges for child care programs. These challenges are not solved by exempting some child care settings from licensure.
If any child care programs are struggling with licensing, they need support, not an exemption. The Resource Center sees first-hand the local realities and stands ready to help providers and families succeed. We must also rebuild child care better than before, not by exempting some child care settings from licensure.
We have an opportunity to address the child care crisis through federal investment, General Assembly leadership, and MSDE action.
We’re committed to spreading the word so that families know their options. We’re also committed to advocating at the federal, state and local level for expanding support for families, and support for providers – dollars to help families pay for child care, dollars to invest in quality programs. And, we’re committed to celebrating the quality provider community. The Resource Center helps ensure child care providers are respected, appreciated and supported in their work to foster thriving families and communities. And, if it is time for a review of child care regulations for school-age care, the Resource Center is glad to help and ensure that the experiences of program providers are considered meaningfully.