`It's About Children's Health and Safety'

More Than 30 People Rallied in Front of City Hall

In Support of City Council Bill #010014



Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Child Care Matters

    PHILADELPHIA, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 30 child care advocates,
 teachers and children rallied in front of City Hall today in support of a bill
 that would help improve the capacity to provide safe, healthy, licensed and
 regulated care to thousands of Philadelphia's children.  The rally was
 sponsored by the Coalition of Home Based Providers.
     Bill #010014 will bring Philadelphia in line with other cities like
 Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and other majors cities by allowing family child care
 providers to care for up to six children without having to obtain a zoning
 variance.  Currently Philadelphia regulations allow for only four children.
     "I would love to be able to care for more children," said Donna Robinson,
 a nationally accredited local family child care provider speaking at the
 rally.  "But I can't afford to take time off of work to attend a zoning
 hearing, because when I don't work my parents don't work.
     While the demand for child care has grown in Philadelphia, the
 availability of safe, healthy, licensed and regulated child care has not.
     "Home-based child care is a necessity for parents in the new economy,"
 said Angela Logan, assistant child care policy director for Child Care
 Matters.  "Increasingly, parents work nights, weekends and split shifts, when
 traditional centers may not be available.  Without family child care, parent
 are out of options."
     There are approximately 45,800 children in licensed and registered
 programs in the city, and approximately 17,000 in unlicensed programs.
 Unregulated and unlicensed programs are not subject to baseline safety, health
 or staffing protections, and in most cases their existence is not known to any
 city or state agency.
     For year's Philadelphia's regulations for family child care programs have
 been some of the most costly and complicated in the country forcing many
 programs not to expand and others to operate in an unregulated capacity.
 Baltimore, which allows family child care providers to care for six children
 without a zoning variance, is half the population of Philadelphia and has
 twice as many licensed and regulated family child care homes.
     In Philadelphia it can cost the average family child care program anywhere
 up to $300 in fees.  And most teachers are required to take about three to
 four days off from work to obtain a zoning variance.  In written testimony to
 City Council hearing, Danielle Vokes, a family child care provider in
 Northeast Philadelphia, said that she spent more than $300 on the process.
 "I also had to take pictures to allow the Zoning Board to get an idea of my
 daycare so they could better decide my eligibility -- not just a couple of
 pictures but seven rolls of films with 4 copies of each roll," Vokes
 testified.
     Vokes was successfully granted her zoning permit, but many others are not.
 "The whole process was very draining and I can see how some providers would
 throw in the towel or go underground," Vokes added. "That wouldn't benefit the
 kids in our areas who need loving secure and regulated daycares to go to and
 thrive.
     As Sharon Easterling, executive director for the Delaware Valley
 Association for the Education of Young Children, speaking at the rally said,
 "When you're earning an average of $2.22 an hour, finding the money to apply
 for a zoning permit and taking the time off from work to attend a zoning
 hearing can be next to impossible."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X26854572
 
 

SOURCE Child Care Matters
    PHILADELPHIA, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 30 child care advocates,
 teachers and children rallied in front of City Hall today in support of a bill
 that would help improve the capacity to provide safe, healthy, licensed and
 regulated care to thousands of Philadelphia's children.  The rally was
 sponsored by the Coalition of Home Based Providers.
     Bill #010014 will bring Philadelphia in line with other cities like
 Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and other majors cities by allowing family child care
 providers to care for up to six children without having to obtain a zoning
 variance.  Currently Philadelphia regulations allow for only four children.
     "I would love to be able to care for more children," said Donna Robinson,
 a nationally accredited local family child care provider speaking at the
 rally.  "But I can't afford to take time off of work to attend a zoning
 hearing, because when I don't work my parents don't work.
     While the demand for child care has grown in Philadelphia, the
 availability of safe, healthy, licensed and regulated child care has not.
     "Home-based child care is a necessity for parents in the new economy,"
 said Angela Logan, assistant child care policy director for Child Care
 Matters.  "Increasingly, parents work nights, weekends and split shifts, when
 traditional centers may not be available.  Without family child care, parent
 are out of options."
     There are approximately 45,800 children in licensed and registered
 programs in the city, and approximately 17,000 in unlicensed programs.
 Unregulated and unlicensed programs are not subject to baseline safety, health
 or staffing protections, and in most cases their existence is not known to any
 city or state agency.
     For year's Philadelphia's regulations for family child care programs have
 been some of the most costly and complicated in the country forcing many
 programs not to expand and others to operate in an unregulated capacity.
 Baltimore, which allows family child care providers to care for six children
 without a zoning variance, is half the population of Philadelphia and has
 twice as many licensed and regulated family child care homes.
     In Philadelphia it can cost the average family child care program anywhere
 up to $300 in fees.  And most teachers are required to take about three to
 four days off from work to obtain a zoning variance.  In written testimony to
 City Council hearing, Danielle Vokes, a family child care provider in
 Northeast Philadelphia, said that she spent more than $300 on the process.
 "I also had to take pictures to allow the Zoning Board to get an idea of my
 daycare so they could better decide my eligibility -- not just a couple of
 pictures but seven rolls of films with 4 copies of each roll," Vokes
 testified.
     Vokes was successfully granted her zoning permit, but many others are not.
 "The whole process was very draining and I can see how some providers would
 throw in the towel or go underground," Vokes added. "That wouldn't benefit the
 kids in our areas who need loving secure and regulated daycares to go to and
 thrive.
     As Sharon Easterling, executive director for the Delaware Valley
 Association for the Education of Young Children, speaking at the rally said,
 "When you're earning an average of $2.22 an hour, finding the money to apply
 for a zoning permit and taking the time off from work to attend a zoning
 hearing can be next to impossible."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X26854572
 
 SOURCE  Child Care Matters