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Vouchers for Child Care

Updated on July 22, 2013

State Paid Child Care

I have to first apologize because I am about a week behind on this hub. I had planned to get it done by October 25th and now here it is almost November 1st and I am still working on it.

Part of the reason is other events have come up and grabbed my attention, things I felt needed to be said sooner, and with more clarity. But now I have written on those items and I must refocus back onto the Child Care situation

That being said I want to make it very clear that, nowhere in the constitution does say that all parents are entitled to state paid child care. Why do I as a single parent and a child care provider have a problem with the current way we as a nation do state paid child care? Because aside from being a parent and a child care provider I am also a daughter and a sister, and I don't think it should be up to my parents or my brother as tax payers to pay for someone else’s child care needs.

Missouri's Problem

In Missouri almost everyone who applies for State Paid Child Care gets it; and in Missouri like a lot of other states it comes down to the Child Care Provider in the area to take state pay.

Missouri's system is messed up. Not because almost everyone who applies for it gets it. While that is an issue, it is messed up because if the individual who needs child care doesn't sign paperwork attesting to the fact that the child was taken care of than the child care provider doesn't get paid. I have spoken to quite a few child care providers in this area who never received payment because on the last day the parent didn't show up, and as a rule Child Care Providers are not supposed to get a parents signature until the last day.

Another issue that Missouri has that seems unfortunate is our Teachers are considered too "Wealthy" to get vouchers for childcare. The very people who we entrust with educating our bigger children do not qualify for help with their own child care.

Who Should Qualify

I think the first step in addressing the State Paid problem at least for Missouri, is coming up with a new set of guidelines for who qualifies; if teachers aren't qualifying for State Paid Child care than people who drive expensive cars, or own certain animals for pleasure shouldn't either. If your money is farming or ranching that is different but I spoke to a couple different people who qualified for state paid child care that were complaining about the cost of boarding their horses. I am of the mindset that if you can't pay for the care and upbringing of your children first then boarding horses for pleasure riding shouldn't really be an option. My second grievance if you will than comes from the State directly and that is if the State or Federal Government really wants to get in the mix of dealing the child care issues they should open their own facilities and staff them with people who need jobs right now, parents can volunteer hours to work at the facility, and people who are searching for employment else where can be employed. If the state really wants its finger in the child care industry they can have it in their own facility, but stay out of my home. No longer will they be able to tell Child Care Providers what they can charge.

It would also see that Missouri doesn't go the way of Ohio, Michigan, and the other fifteen states with the Unions getting involved in In-Home Child Care. I work for myself, I don't want to do State Paid child care in my facility, and I do not want a Union telling me what I should be teaching my preschooler's. That should be between me and the parent and the State and Federal Government needs to stay the heck out of my business.

The Solution

So I briefly mentioned the need to have child care facilities that are run at the state level. To offset the cost to the state for the voucher system, and so that it doesn’t open the door to state paid child care facilities becoming unionized, the state should be the only ones with such facilities. Now my fellow child care providers who currently take state pay have the option to only accept cash, check, or credit card payment and no longer take the state pay. Some might think this will harm them, the need for quality child care is still great and since I began the child care business in 2009 I have never accepted state pay I have also usually a waiting list and a solid steady income of clients so there are people out there who will pay regardless of whether they qualify for the state based child care.

Why would someone choose to pay a provider rather than take state pay? For several different reasons, they could be like me and even though I once qualified for state pay I didn’t believe in taking the funds and so I chose to pay out of pocket. Another reason is that under this new system I propose that anyone who accepts state pay have to give something back. Usually their time must be volunteered once or twice a week depending on the situation. The idea is if you are taking state pay to care for your children then you spend a few hours every week at the same facility helping out with the care of other children in the program. With state pay child care is costing you the parent nothing or next to nothing so you will volunteer your time. Each parent volunteering time to care for these children will cut down on the number of state employees that get paid through tax money and therefore cut down on the overall expense each state incurs through programs such as these.

Detractors

My biggest detractors always point out that my plans will cut jobs, which is true. If you open a child care facility that is state run and therefore paid through tax money then announce that it will only employee a certain number of people while the vast majority of those involved in the program are going to be volunteers it seems like we are taking away jobs. However it is important to note that this isn’t taking away jobs since no state currently operates this way, instead what it is doing is producing a small amount of employment and then relying on volunteers to make up the rest of the people involved. Detractors might also say that by offering this type of system we are taking away from child care facilities that are already open they will no longer be able to accept state pay and this could hurt their bottom dollar. Many child care facilities in the area where I live only supplement their income, and while it is true that there are some whose sole purpose is to take state pay these facilities if not in someone’s home could be taken over by the system and the current providers simply change rolls or they have the option of remaining private enterprises where they now only accept payment via check, cash, or credit card.

There are a lot of options when it comes to fixing the programs that plague our society. I am simply offering up a few of my own solutions in hopes of starting a dialog so that we can make things better.

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