A loophole in new law pushes children out of licensed child care

Critics say a loophole in a new law meant to ensure the safety of children in unlicensed child care homes has caused some children to be pushed out of licensed facilities.

Before the law took effect Aug. 28, unlicensed, in-home childcare providers could care for four or fewer unrelated children and an unlimited number of their own children. Under the new law, unlicensed providers may care for only six children, and no more than three under the age of 2.

Daycare operators’ children over the age of 5 are excluded in the count. The Columbia Missourian reports lawmakers inadvertently required licensed day care providers to count all their own children, regardless of age.

That discrepancy has forced some licensed day care providers to refuse spots for unrelated children.

A waiver process for licensed providers for their children over 5 is being used on a case-by-case basis to fix the loophole.