Of all the concerns for parents of newborns and toddlers, finding quality child care is as big as any.
In Kansas, finding any available child care can be problematic.
A story from The Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman outlined the dearth of child care in the state, including Sedgwick County. The county has licensed child care for less than half of the potential demand. Same for Butler, Harvey, Kingman and Cowley counties. Things are better in Sumner and Harper counties (child care lacking for less than 25 percent of the demand), but worse in Elk and Chase counties (less than 75 percent).
The solutions seem easy to identify, difficult to apply. The state has to make it easier for potential child-care providers to start and grow their businesses, yet guidelines for care of youngsters can’t be eased.
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From the parent perspective, an improved child-care tax credit would help more families be able to look for child care and become more stable customers who wouldn’t move in and out of child care and from provider to provider. The credit was reinstated in the 2017 session as part of the rollback of 2012 tax policy.
Kansans with young children probably don’t think of state government as part of the equation that leads to quality child care. But it can play a key role in making the child-care business more inviting and accessible.