Alaska Child Care Providers Could See Significant Changes

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska child care providers are concerned drastic changes could be coming to preschools throughout the state.

    A document outlining proposed changes from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Child Care Program Office says an administrator of a child care facility with current certification would need to have a bachelor's degree in a child care-related field and in-service training, and an administrator without a current certification would need a master's degree in a related field and in-service training, the Juneau Empire reported .

    "One of the concerns is changing the administrative qualifications," said Gretchen Boone, director at Gold Creek Child Development Center, a Juneau preschool program that focuses on early childhood development. "This would prevent several programs from meeting these criteria."

    Teachers and administrators without higher education currently have the option of earning a Child Development Associate credential through the Council for Professional Recognition. This credential would no longer apply under the proposed regulations.

    "There are programs that could potentially have owners and administrators who may not be qualified to run their own programs," Boone said. "They may have to close."

    The Juneau Empire repeatedly contacted the Child Care Program Office but did not receive any comments on the proposed changes to the regulations.

    There is no timeline on when these changes could take place.

    Seven child care offices in Juneau collectively wrote a letter to the state's Child Care Program Office outlining their concerns.

    One of the groups' main concerns is maximum group student sizes.

    Currently, the ratio for services from birth to 12 months is 10 children to two adults. But the proposed changes would lower that ratio to eight to two, thus taking away those tuition costs from the programs.

    Groups of all ages would see decreases in sizes under the proposed changes.

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