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Regulating daycare at the city level

Daycare Regulations

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Daycare in Idaho Falls is regulated at the city level, in many other cities, the state regulates daycare.

The Citizens Review Committee for Planning and Building, proposed the city to reevaluate regulating daycare at the city level.

Little Dinos Daycare is one of 77 daycares in Idaho Falls.

Owner Vickie Jenkins said she takes extra measures to make sure her kids are well cared for.

"The facility is way clean, the ratio is awesome, I'm always over staffed but the kids always get more one on one," said Jenkins.

Her facility is licensed by the city of Idaho Falls.

She has to have monthly fire drills, a specific ratio of adults to children and building codes.

"These hooks have to be so far apart so that nobody's coat is touching each other because of head lice. that's a requirement," said Jenkins.

A requirement part of the city ordinance drafted by former councilwoman Karen Cornwell.

"I'm very happy with it," said Cornwell.

Cornwell says it was rough in the beginning.

"It was just terrible at that ones meeting, the whole place was filled up," said Cornwell.

She said before the city took over, regulation inspectors would find alarming violations.

"Sometimes they would go in and find feces," said Cornwell.

The city ordinance made it clear those violations would be unacceptable.

Enforcing the code fell into the planning and building department.

"They go through the records of every child on site," said Brad Cramer, director of Planning and Building.

There are two inspectors to check the 77 daycares in Idaho Falls.

The ordinance says each daycare needs to have two visits a year, one scheduled, and one unscheduled.

"That doesn't always happen. In fact I'm not sure they've done two inspections per business per year yet. They do get through the one," said Cramer.

Cramer said it's simply manpower keeping both inspections from happening. He also added since what inspectors have found after the ordinance went in effect are minor violations that are quickly fixed.

As for Little Dinos Daycare, Jenkins says if a daycare is putting children's safety first, there's no difference if the city or state are the ones enforcing the code.

"It really doesn't matter to me," said Jenkins

It is important to remember the Citizens Review Committee is an advisory group.

They will present an official report to the city council with their suggestions, it is then up to the council to decide what they want to do with their recommendations.

The state also has regulations that daycares need to meet. The city can decide to be more restrictive than the state with its own ordinances, but it cannot be less restrictive.

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