Affordable Childcare

To the Editor,

As a single mother who worked at Red Lodge restaurant as a second job, I am aware of the changes in childcare that have adversely affected today’s parents. In the early 1990’s we entrusted our children to the care of someone we knew to be naturally good with children. That person typically took in several kids at a low, hourly rate to make it worth her while and affordable for the young parents. We had many choices for high quality, safe, affordable childcare. Pretty simple.
Then during the Clinton administration our government saw fit, ‘for our children’s safety’ (an oft used bandwagon to garner support for government objectives) to regulate child caregivers and their facilities. Grammas having a lifetime of experience in childcare as well as many talented younger women were told that unless they met the expensive qualifications imposed by government they were no longer allowed by law to do what came natural to them, in the way they had become accustomed.
They went out of business.
In order to afford the cost of the regulations those who did stay in business had to significantly raise their rates. Hence the cost of childcare has become more difficult to manage and for some, unaffordable.
There is another less obvious result of all this which may be even more costly. By accepting these childcare regulations in essence we are agreeing that government intervention is necessary to keep our children safe; that it is the government’s expertise, not the neighborhood gramma who has successfully cared for dozens of children in her lifetime, who is to be trusted with the care of our young. It attempts to shift our faith in people to faith in the state. Government knows best.
So now we have what you see here in 2013: 32 pages of regulations whose hoops and hurdles impede gramma and others from earning a living wage, parents for whom work is a problem because they can’t afford childcare, and a populace trained to seek the hand of government to solve the problems, that by insinuating itself into places where it does more harm than good, the government has caused in the first place.
Is this the collective we want—people who believe in a behemoth government fixing the problems the behemoth creates? Or would we rather be a people who can believe in the power of our own initiative who choose for ourselves a light-handed government that doesn’t thwart our efforts to prosper?
The answer is obvious. Let’s move to deregulate childcare.

Free minds. Free markets.
Free America.

Cynthia Marble
Red Lodge