Senate Votes to Change Some Iowa Child Care Staffing Rules
Republicans in the Iowa Senate have voted to let 16- and 17-year-olds be in charge of school age children at child care centers, without direct adult supervision.
Republican Senator Craig Johnson of Independence says Iowa teens are already allowed to work as lifeguards and certified nursing assistants.
Fellow Republican Senator Waylon Brown of Osage says the move would be similar to having a teenager babysit for you.
The bill also raises staffing ratios, so one adult child care worker could oversee up to 10 three-year-olds. Democratic Senator Janet Petersen from Des Moines says these changes could become “a nightmare” for parents, noting that “Iowa is ranked one of the worst states in the country for child abuse…we should be fixing that, not making matters worse with a bill that takes away regulations that are put in place to secure the safety of our future generation.”
If the bill becomes law, one adult could oversee a room of seven two-year-olds. The upper limit under current law is six two-year-olds per child care staffer. Democratic Senator Claire Celsi of Des Moines says better pay and benefits are the answer to Iowa’s child care crisis.
Republican Senator Jeff Edler from State Center says these proposed staffing ratios would not be requirements, but options. The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of Senate changes