March 5, 2013
The demand for good child care facilities exceeds supply in the County. The purpose of the bill is to assure that the County takes advantage of all opportunities to include child care facilities in County capital projects. Councilmember Hans Riemer was the lead sponsor of the legislation. Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice were co-sponsors.
The bill will require County departments and agencies to supplement impact statements on future construction projects that would analyze the feasibility of including a child care facility as part of the project. The potential for including child care facilities in each County Capital Improvements Program (CIP) project is not currently assessed as routine.
The County’s Department of Health and Human Services performs a similar evaluation when it considers whether to recommend inclusion of child care facilities in schools undergoing major renovation or construction as a part of the Child Care in Schools CIP project. This CIP project encourages child care providers to offer high quality child care in communities where they might not otherwise be financially able, due to the high numbers of subsidy and low-income parents.
“As a parent of two young children, I talk regularly with young families who struggle to find affordable, quality child care. I wrote this legislation because I think the County should always consider whether to set aside space for a child care provider when we are doing public buildings,” said Councilmember Riemer. “We need to start thinking of child care opportunities at the right time—during the early planning stages of projects. Beyond those stages, usually the only answer is, ‘We could have or we should have.’ By then, it is not feasible. I am glad that all members of the Council agree that we need to be pro-active on this issue.”
In the assessments that will be made in future CIP projects regarding the feasibility of creating child care facilities, the County may rely on the key factors used in assessing whether facilities should be included in school construction. Those factors include poverty rates in the immediate community, mobility rates, English for Speakers of Other Languages rates and the availability of quality (credentialed or accredited) child care.
“Expanding access to affordable child care is critical for our County to build and retain the qualified, diverse workforce employers look for,” said Council President Nancy Navarro. “This bill, which passed with my amendment to prioritize increasing access to affordable high-quality child care in areas with the greatest need, will help address this issue.”
Councilmember Marc Elrich said about Bill 38-12: “This is one of the strategies that the County should pursue to improve school readiness for children.”
Source: Montgomery County Council’s Legislative Information Office. For a link to the full press release, please click here.