Nov 22, 2022

Reno County Commission chair 'pissed off' after child care report

Posted Nov 22, 2022 8:00 PM

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Reno County Commission chair Daniel Friesen wanted the help of his colleagues to rein in his anger at the news that all of the focus groups for the Reno County child care study cited overly officious inspection standards enforced by local Health Department workers as a reason for some of the problems with child care in the county.

"We don't have time to talk with each other outside of this meeting," Friesen said Tuesday. "For a 15-minute conversation, to stifle that conversation is extremely disappointing to me. I am pissed off at what I heard today. I don't want to just dump all that on Randy without the two of you providing a balancing feedback."

Dr. Bradford Wiles said the feedback here was unique.

"I have done this kind of work in multiple communities across Kansas," Wiles said. "Never ever have I seen every group of respondents say something about this exact issue. I've had providers complain. Complain is not the right word. I've had providers voice their frustrations. I've never seen it in parents looking for care for example. They probably shouldn't even know about that, so there's clearly an issue here."

Wiles stated that every regulation has a reason that is founded in public safety. However, the chilling effect of a lack of grace shown to providers on things that are fixable issues that do not cause physical danger is a factor that may suppress child care supply in the community, especially among home care providers.

"It's the enforcement," Wiles said. "That's what the most important element of those discussions has been. It is shocking, to say the least."

Reno County has lost one center and six home care providers since June alone.

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