Day care providers in holding pattern until board decision
Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors has worked out an agreement with the Virginia Department of Social Services to not enforce a July 1 ruling that would limit the number of children in home day care in Loudoun County.
The ruling by the VDSS, stated any day care provider seeking a new license is required to have their local zoning administrators sign off on a form saying they have been informed of the provider’s plan to seek a child care license.
While the state sanctions 12 children as the maximum number of children in a home, Loudoun County only allows nine per home. That law includes the provider’s children as well, who were not included in prior laws.
Day care providers were waiting for a decision to come down from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors about how many children could be under their care.
Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) has been actively discussing the situation with day care providers and outlined what the supervisors have done since the issue first came to light in late August .
“After going through the Transportation and Land Use Committee, the item came before the board and passed the item 9-0,” Letourneau said. “By passing the ordinance, the supervisors instructed staff to go through and put together proposed changes to the ordinance to allow up to 12 in certain zoning districts.”
“We have to do this by zoning districts. You can’t simply say we are going to have nine kids in a day care in Sterling and 12 in Ashburn, but that process is now under way,” Letourneau said.
Letourneau went on to say the Supervisors asked staff to pursue an agreement with the VDSS to continue to process applications for licenses without enforcing the nine child limit.
That agreement is now in place.
According to the state, there is approximately 144 licensed day care providers in Loudoun County.
If all licensed day care providers are maxed out at 12 kids, according to state law, that means 1,728 children are currently in family-run day cares. If the ordinance remains the same in Loudoun with a cap of nine children in each day care, a possible 432 children or 25 percent could be forced to find new day care centers. That means parents on a fixed income would likely have to pay more for child care because of increased demand.
In addition, several children currently in Loudoun family-run day cares are under government subsidized care, which means providers are paid a smaller sum for their care.
Day care providers argue that these are businesses and it is possible subsidized kids would be the first eliminated because they pay a smaller fee than the rest of the children.
Day Care provider Dena Sommers has been actively following the issue.
“This is something we are still going to have to fight for. We need to continue to watch it and monitor it closely,” Sommers said. “Because they made the decision a little bit late for people like myself, it really crippled me and has cost me thousands of dollars. I had to turn away a lot of business right before and when school started.
“Day care providers will be in touch with our supervisors and I will be shooting Matt Letourneau emails every now and then to get updates,” Sommers said. “We are not letting up or giving up, we are just in a holding pattern right now.”
Letourneau said based on the work plan that has been outlined he expects the issue to not to come up again until the middle of next year and not be fully resolved until the fourth quarter of 2013 and possibly into 2014.
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