There is never enough child care available, especially in smaller communities, the Barton County Commission was told Monday morning.
The insight came when Connie Miller, child care licensing surveyor with the Barton County Health Department, updated the commission on changes in day care business. Childcare falls under the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s jurisdiction and new guidelines have been implemented.
“Day care is always needed,” she said. Facilities tend to fell up quickly.
Miller is based out of Barton County, but works on a contract basis with KDHE. She also covers Rice and Rush counties.
She said there are 65 day care homes, four pre-schools, eight childcare centers and one Headstart program (which covers the entire county) in Barton County. There are a total of 20 facilities in Rice County and seven in Rush.
Now, according to new KDHE mandates, each facility must be inspected annually, she said. A former day care provider herself, Miller is charged with handling these visits which include looking over the safety of the site and at various records.
Also, if there is a complaint filed against a provider, Miller will make a surprise inspection and file report with the state. Then, it is up to KDHE to make the final determination.
“The safety of our young people is very important,” she said. And, with a lot of two-income households, day care is a vital part of society.
Anyone wanting to open a day care facility needs to contact Miller for an application. Then there is an orientation and training (including first aid and other emergency procedures). There is also a licensing fee of $50 or $100, depending on the type of facility.
In all, Miller said it can take an applicant anywhere from 60 to 90 days to get their license.