“I think that parents should choose the right curriculum for their child without government regulations.”

She’s working to provide the best care for children but the government thinks it knows better than the children’s parents. 

Lakesha Terry runs an in-home childcare facility in Georgia. Her experience with children began at a young age when she was helping to care for her baby brother and babysitting. After realizing her passion for childcare, Terry obtained a degree in Human Services and began working at a hospital as a medical secretary. The flexibility at the hospital allowed her to reduce her hours to the weekend so she could pursue her dream of building her own business. 

Over the next two years, Terry completed her Early Childhood Development certification and remodeled her home to serve as a childcare space. After a bumpy start, Terry developed a Facebook page and began to see enrollments and inquiries flood in daily. 

Now she runs Open Arms Learning Academy, or as Terry describes it, “a home away from home” for the children she cares for. She works hard to provide health-balanced meals along with a “quality learning experience that is educational as well as fun.” 

Terry is passionate about exposing the children to art, music, science, culinary experiences, and more. She even believes that children should start learning Biblical history at an early age and works to help ensure that happens with those children in her charge. 

She’s proud of her work and says, “What I’m most proud of is I’m seeing results, and the parents are as well. And the overall appreciation from them for trusting and believing in me.” 

But Terry can’t expand her preschool home care because, in Georgia, the government limits the curriculum and meals that a childcare facility can offer. The parents are happy with what she offers, but the government won’t allow her to have more children without meeting daycare licensing requirements. 

Occupational Licensing

Most states have strict child care licensing regulations. These include requirements for the number of children in the center, the type of education provided, nutrition, provider education, and more. While some regulations help ensure the quality of care that children receive, excessive requirements both drive up costs of childcare for parents and unnecessarily restrict care providers. 

Georgia, like many other states, has clear requirements for childcare providers. Terry currently does not need a license because Open Arms Academy is classified as a preschool and serves a small enough number of children to avoid these regulatory requirements. 

Terry would like to expand the number of children she serves but that would open her up to regulation, particularly over the curriculum and meals. Terry doesn’t want that to happen.  She firmly believes that: “Parents should have a choice of who they want to care for their child.”  She thinks licensing requirements make sense for large daycare centers that operate in separate facilities, but she sees home-based daycare as something different.

Because her standards at Open Arms Academy meet parent’s desires, Terry does not want the government to force her to change her programming and meals. 

This sounds like common sense to most parents: Parents should be able to choose what is best for their children. Referrals and reviews are incredible regulators in today’s childcare market. Unnecessary and costly childcare requirements keep individuals like Terry from providing excellent care to more children and make it harder for parents to find affordable care options that work for their families.  It’s time for the government to get out of people’s way. 

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