Costs are high because Maine day cares are being forced to close.

I’ve been doing child care in my local community for 27 years, and I almost closed last year because of excessive regulations that are costly and do not increase safety of children. I know many qualified licensed professional family child cares that raised their prices and many that just closed. It’s easy to say that more regulations make children more safe, but when parents can’t endure the increased costs of care or can’t find any openings, are children really more safe?

When child care is unaffordable or less available, children end up in illegal child care that does not have even basic safety or fire inspections.

It is easy to say that child care needs to be higher quality, have newer furniture and be accredited, but does it really make a difference? Every parent and child who I have met seem to value personal interaction, play and exploration, reliability of care and affordability.

Lawmakers have a chance to preserve what is left of Maine’s child care industry by realizing that strict regulation and accreditation do not keep children safe. They just cause the costs to go up and good places to close. Licensed child care professionals do keep children safe; without them, the desperate parents will be forced to choose less-safe options for their children.

Kathy Folan

South Portland