KENNEWICK, Wash. - Many of us work full time jobs with a 40 hour week and a few days off. But that's easy compared to the workload for in home child care providers. Between preparations and paperwork, their work is nearly never done.
That, coupled with new state regulations, has many providers throwing in the towel.
Washington State has some of the more stringent regulations in the nation. It's all in the name of protecting children, but the cost of that safety is surprising.
Vickey Priest has been running a day care since 1988 and she says she'll keep at it until she retires... or until the state shuts her down.
"The only thing the state gives is a piece of paper to hang on my wall," said Priest.
Well, that... and 90 pages of Washington State Administration Codes that address everything from how much television kids watch to approving vacation time for self-employed child care providers.
The latest regulations have caused several home daycares to close their doors. Vickey Priest, however, is in it for the long haul.
"My parents have said because of all the rules and regulations they would use me without a license because the rules are getting ridiculous," said Priest. "They don't accommodate the children and its making it harder for parents to use licensed child care because our rates have to keep going up."
Priest isn't suggesting parents do such a thing. It's clear the rules are rules for a reason. She's sidestepped raising prices too much by charging more for her part-time kids and cutting her insurance benefits to employees.
In the next five years, people like Priest and her staff must become early childhood teachers.
"They're requiring all in home child care now to basically do a pre-school program in their environment," said Priest.
That's something Priest already does but she feels the State is getting too heavy handed and believes the increased regulation are going to put in home child care providers out of business.
The State has also enhanced its regulations on food and playground safety. It will cost Vickey Priest about $1,000 to meet the new standards in her backyard play area.