New childcare bill upsets childcare advocates

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OKLAHOMA CITY — A national report just released regarding Small Family Child Care puts Oklahoma at the top of its list. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies says Oklahoma scored the highest in the nation at 80 percent.

Childcare advocate Marti Nicholson is thrilled.

“We have the best child care standards and the best oversight in the nation. Which means our children are safer in childcare here than almost any place else in this country.”

But there is also Oklahoma State House Bill 2840 which has been moving through the legislature.

It would do away with licensing requirements for someone who cares for one unrelated child in the caregiver’s home. 

That means no required background checks.

Nicholson says this new report shows how well Oklahoma is doing, but says if HB2840 passes, it would change everything.

“When we have these protections in place, why would we turn back the clock to a time when children weren’t as safe as they are today?”

Representative Scott Martin authored the bill. 

He says it was meant to make things easier for families.

“All we’re trying to do is provide one simple exception and give the parents some more rights. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Parental rights here without opening a huge floodgate of irresponsibility?”

Those like Nicholson who are against the bill hope for another outcome.

“What we need to do is build on our strengths and address our weaknesses, not go backwards,” she said.

We tried to contact lawmakers for a response but did not hear back from them.

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