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Child care bill moves to House floor after passing committee on Tuesday

Feb 13, 2024, 1:04 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2024, 6:19 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill focusing on child care moved to the House floor after passing out of committee Tuesday morning at the Utah Capitol.

Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, is the sponsor of HB153

Those who oppose the bill said the changes are a difference in children being able to survive and thrive. 

“This isn’t about mere survival,” said Brigette Weier.

Speaking on behalf of Utah Care for Kids Network, Weier said she was disappointed the bill moved forward like it did.

As of Tuesday, the bill, as written, expands a state tax credit that parents can claim for their young children.

What the child care bill does

It requires a background check, but no license. Additionally, the bill would increase the number of children allowed in an unlicensed care setting from six to eight.

Weier said increasing the number to eight does not fix the child care problem. Rather, she claimed it allows more children to be in situations where they could be harmed. She also said it makes it easier for the child care system to be abused. 

“We allow people to practice medicine that way? We allow our dentists to practice that way?” Weier asked. “Background checks are a start, but we need to be clear, we have no way of tracking unlicensed care in the state of Utah. We have no way of enforcing that background check.”

Pulsipher said there is flexibility offered in the tax credit expansion for children ages 2 and 3 now increased to include children ages 4 and 5.

“They would allow parents to choose to care for them in whatever way is best for them,” she said. “They could use it to, you know, help grandma that might help care for them, or they could use it to help one of the parents stay home and care for their children at home.”

Pulsipher also said the background checks unlicensed child care providers get would be the same as licensed providers go through in the process.

 “I think that’s very appropriate because we require people, families, parents, that go into schools and help with schools if they’re alone with children they also have to get a background check,” Pulsipher said. “So, I think that that’s very appropriate to require unlicensed providers to have those background checks.”

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Child care bill moves to House floor after passing committee on Tuesday