More kids in unlicensed day care? Utah Legislature mulls changing state law

Feb 12, 2024, 9:44 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2024, 9:41 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are considering a proposal to boost the number of children allowed in unlicensed day care facilities.

The sponsor of HB153, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, told KSL TV her bill is aimed at “trying to provide more offerings for child care” at a time when many families are struggling to find and pay for it.

But opponents argue it would put kids at risk.

Pulsipher’s bill would allow up to eight children at an unlicensed daycare provider. Currently, the law caps that number at six children. HB153 would also require unlicensed providers to get a background check – a new addition to the bill after pushback from child advocates.

Daycare provider Lizabeth Rose said she understands the importance of finding affordable child care. But, she added, licensing is important. (KSL TV)

“I think requiring the background checks should relieve a lot of the concern,” Pulsipher said.

It isn’t. The advocacy organization Voices for Utah Children is opposing the measure – even though it also includes an expansion to a state tax credit that parents can claim for their young children.

“We are disappointed that we must still oppose a Child Tax Credit bill we were looking forward to supporting,” said Anna Thomas, Voices for Utah Children policy director, in a statement. “But this limited tax credit is not worth sacrificing the health and safety of Utah’s youngest community members.”

Thomas said while she appreciates the addition of required background checks, she is worried about a lack of requirements for safety inspections, first aid and CPR training, and regular oversight for unlicensed child care providers who would be taking care of more children.

“It is incredibly offensive to a lot of licensed child care providers and, I think, reflects the Legislature’s unwillingness to do anything about child care that isn’t free, easy, and completely outside of their view,” Thomas said in a recent interview.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool in Salt Lake City, day care provider Lizabeth Rose said she understands the importance of finding affordable child care. But, she added, licensing is important.

“I think it’s that extra cushioning for parents to know that their children are extra safe,” Rose said, noting her facility undergoes regular inspections and is required to take extra health and safety steps.

But Pulsipher defended adding more capacity for unlicensed at-home providers, many of whom she said are often more flexible and give families more options.

Pulsipher also said expanding the child tax credit will give families who need it more money.

“These are families that are in medium, low incomes,” Pulsipher said. “These families can get a tax credit to help them with whatever they need it for.”

HB153 passed out of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Tuesday morning in a 6-4 vote. It now awaits a vote in the full House of Representatives.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Salt Lake City officials issued a new warning to escalate the ozone threat in the Salt Lake Valley ...

Andrew Adams

SLC issues summer pollution warning, which experts say is more difficult to escape than the heat

Salt Lake City issued a new warning for ozone pollution levels amid rising temperatures that are supposed to keep going up.

2 hours ago

Wyoming highway, Teton Pass...

Mary Culbertson

Wyoming-bound tourists should keep their plans amid Teton Pass failure, officials say

Wyoming officials are encouraging tourists and Wyoming-bound travelers not to cancel their plans amid a crucial highway that experienced "catastrophic" failure.

4 hours ago

Delegates from Utah listen to an employee of Carbfix on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Mike Anderson, K...

Mike Anderson

Utah delegation explores Iceland’s example in carbon capture to reduce emissions

A Utah delegation is looking to Iceland to help pave the way for a cleaner energy future for the state. 

7 hours ago

A horde of grasshoppers is invading several homes and lawns of Springville residents on June 12, 20...

Shelby Lofton

‘We need birds:’ Grasshoppers invade parts of Springville

Some Springville residents are being overwhelmed by a recent invasion of grasshoppers that are eating gardens and lawns.

7 hours ago

Courtney Lynne Townsend was last seen on Nov. 16, 2023. (St. George Police Department)...

Mary Culbertson

Body found in Kane County confirmed to be missing St. George woman

Human remains found in Kane County were confirmed by the Utah medical examiner to be those of a missing St. George woman.

7 hours ago

Cedar City police said one person was hospitalized and another was taken into custody following an ...

Mark Jones and Michael Houck, KSL TV

1 person in custody, another hospitalized in alleged road rage incident in Cedar City

Cedar City police said one person was hospitalized and another was taken into custody following an alleged road rage incident on Wednesday afternoon.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

More kids in unlicensed day care? Utah Legislature mulls changing state law