3 hours 59 minutes written by Jackson Overstreet
Post-COVID, Kanetha Brown has had more and more parents approach her about a place at her daycare, K-Bee’s. She is regularly reaching the limit of 10 children.
“Normally I let (parents) know there’s a waitlist or call back, sometimes they even just want a ride,” she told KAKE.
That capacity limit is now changing. The Wichita City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve new joint city and county daycare regulations that increase the maximum number of licenses for a home daycare center from 10 to 12.
“Essentially, we will now just follow state law and for some reason, our ordinance was more restrictive,” says Councilman Becky Tuttle.
Tuttle leads the city council’s efforts to make this change. He says it’s an easy improvement to give more room to about 300 suppliers.
“Every one of our core industries and supply chain organizations says workforce is their biggest problem right now, or one of their biggest problems,” Tuttle said.
“They need a better skilled workforce and if we can have safe, reliable, affordable early learning and childcare opportunities, that really ensures that our workforce can be where they need to be, at work.”
According to Child Start Executive Director Tanya Bulluck, there is a huge need for additional daycare places in Wichita and Sedgwick County.
The organization helps daycare centers throughout South Central Kansas with resources and coaching. Bulluck says “last year alone, we were meeting just 38% of the demand for children in need of care and right now we’re at 41%.”
He says the situation is in crisis, not just here but throughout Kansas. So while this change may seem small, he says “we have about 648 programs that could potentially take advantage of this opportunity.”
Both Bulluck and Tuttle say this change could also encourage more people to start a home daycare business because the two more places mean more income. Brown says it will be a boon for many people starting out because she knows it will be of great help to her.
“Everything has gone up in every grocery store, stock has gone up. So having those two extra kids would help me with the kids’ education and buying stuff for them.”