The owners of Kinderland Nursery School held their annual Indepedence Day parade last week a little worried about their next celebration.
The daycare center, which has been operating out of a Curry Street house since 1964, is under pressure due to new regulations governing businesses like Kinderland.
The regulations are tied to a federal block grant for childcare assistance. The grant now requires states to regulate staffing and child levels per room, but leaves the numbers to the discretion of state regulators.
“The square footage of three of our rooms would only allow 2-4 children each, but would require an adult,” wrote Rosetta McFadden, the 88 year-old founder of Kinderland, and Malah McFadden, her daughter and co-owner, in a June letter to parents. “Not counting those 3 rooms, we would need at least 6 to 7 adults to use the remaining space. We are licensed for 48 children, but with space unusable that would limit the number of children we can have thus limiting our income. We can not sustain that many employees.”
The nursery, which provides preschool, and before and after school programs, currently operates with four full-time staff and one part-time person.
More worrisome, the owners said, would be changes to the way Kinderland teaches and cares for the kids.
“We do not want to be forced to function in a way that does not benefit the children,” the letter said. “This would mean the end of Kinderland.”
The regulations were crafted with input from operators, said Denise Tanata, executive director, Children’s Advocacy Alliance in Las Vegas.
And the state is working to accommodate businesses, especially ones like Kinderland, she said.
“Health and Human Services is trying to work with them,” Tanata said. “There are opportunities for waivers.”
The McFaddens have encouraged parents to contact elected officials to find a way to change the regulations and this month Malah McFadden may appear before the Nevada Task Force on Financial Security.
The interim task force was created to examine issues affecting the financial security of individuals and families, and one focus has been childcare.
“We did a survey and the biggest obstacle is affordable childcare. It is keeping women from full time work,” said Molly Walt, Nevada Department of Administration, Director’s Office, the staff person for the Nevada Commission for Women, who will be presenting at the July 25 task force meeting if the agenda includes the childcare issue.
In Carson City, it costs roughly 12 percent of a married couple’s median income for childcare for one infant, or 25 percent of the median income for a female head of household, according to a survey by Children’s Advocacy Alliance completed in 2016.
The McFaddens also are working with Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City, who sits on the task force.
Kramer said a solution needs to be worked out. He said no amendment currently exists and he’s out of bill draft requests (BDRs), but hopes the task force can address it through one of its BDRs.
Kramer said the current regulation will put small childcare facilities like Kinderland out of business.
“This is a big deal,” said Kramer. “If you’re going to tell people they’ve got to provide their own way in life then you have to stop putting roadblocks in their way.”