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‘Already overwhelmed’ Daycare won’t adjust ratios despite Iowa’s new law

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:41 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -16-year-olds can supervise school-aged classrooms and more children can be watched at a time under Iowa’s new child care law. Governor Reynolds signed the law into effect on Thursday.

”I cannot even if it is law, allow 16 and 17-year-olds to work unattended by an adult in my center,” Miranda Niemi said Friday, Executive Director at Collins Aerospace Day Academy.

She says leaving people under 18 in charge of rooms could impact her insurance.

“If something were to happen while the 16-year-old was left alone with children they would pull my liability insurance and they would not cover the incident,” Niemi explained.

While not every center is going to start leaving teenagers in charge, it is in option. And so is the ability to fit more kids into a classroom, with less staff.

“It will make more slots available and it’s an option it’s not a mandate,” Governor Reynolds told reporters after signing the law into effect.

She says the law puts Iowa more in line with other states. The goal is to help address workforce as well as the state’s childcare crisis.

Now, one teacher can watch seven 2-year-olds instead of six, or ten 3-year-olds instead of eight. Niemi says, she won’t do it to her staff.

“Increasing ratios is going to increase stress, workload. We are going to have more burnout and more people exiting the field,” said Niemi.

She believes having the option puts centers in a difficult position as they aim to balance income, workforce needs and quality of care.

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