Perspective: WIS Editorial on Child Care Standards by General Manager Mel Stebbins

Maybe you've heard about the tragic deaths of infants and young children while in day care. It's been clear for a long time that stronger standards and regulations are needed for operators of child care centers in our state. Can you imagine the outcry if something like this happened in a public school, a foster home or a juvenile justice facility?

Some child care operators oppose stronger regulations. Maybe that's why no one in authority is pushing to increase staff-to-child ratios, impose fines for endangering children or establish a quality rating system. 70% of mothers with children under age six are in the workforce. Safe, quality child care is essential for parents who leave young children in day care during the workday.

Other states have implemented systems that provide information to parents shopping for child care. These regulations define quality. South Carolina should have such a system. Your local restaurant can be shut down for health violations, but it's nearly impossible to shut down a child care center that's sub-standard.

Next year, when the General Assembly goes back into session, members need to pass a law to protect children in day care and provide peace of mind for their working parents. Let us know what you think.