Day care regulations a good thing

Published 3:00 am Friday, March 10, 2017

The Alabama legislature recently passed a bill out of committee that would remove an exemption allowing religiously-affiliated childcare centers from operating under state regulations.

At first, that sounds like it might be a bad thing. What about separation of church and state? Will this mean churches have to charge more for childcare or stop offering the ministry?

But after talking to several of our local church childcare centers, or ones that are otherwise religiously affiliated, it’s clear that this bill will only be beneficial to our community.

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The resounding answer from the church-run childcare centers that responded was clear: “We already comply with state regulations.”

Now, that isn’t to say these churches don’t breathe easier knowing they won’t be penalized if they accidentally violate an obscure regulation buried in the code, but they do attempt to follow them nonetheless.

Because these churches already keep up with state standards, this means the bill should not have any major effect on costs for the ministries: ensuring that they can continue to provide care at or near the same rate currently offered.

With this bill, Alabama will fall in line with 43 other states that already have these measures in place.

Meanwhile, other daycare that may attempt to hide behind religious affiliation to cover up flaws and liabilities, or even abuse, won’t be able to get away with it any longer.

Regulations can often get overbearing and cumbersome on businesses and effectually keep them from working the way the need to. But in the case of childcare, it’s extremely important to have these regulations in place.

Some parents were in attendance at the committee meeting telling emotional stories about their children suffering abuse at centers they didn’t realize weren’t inspected. Even if those cases are few and far between, with the providers of childcare backing the bill, what’s to lose?

This is a prime example of when regulations are actually a good thing. When most of the centers that would be put under the regulations support them and the opponents have the potential to get away with neglect and abuse, those regulations seem like a no-brainer.

When dealing with children, it pays to take precautions.

As Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, said of the bill, children are precious commodities and we need to make sure they’re being taken care of.

Jacob Holmes is a staff writer for The Messenger. Reach him at