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Unlicensed child care providers can care for more kids under bill headed to Senate floor

A sign on a fence reads "Now Hiring Child Care Providers" along with a phone number. Behind the fence is a small yard with a swing set.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
Indiana has less than half the number of child care seats it requires to meet current needs.

A bill that allows unlicensed child care providers to serve more children for more hours each week easily advanced out of a Senate committee Wednesday — even as Democrats express unease with the measure.

HB 1102 allows unlicensed, home-based providers to care for as many as seven children, up from five. And a change in the Senate committee ensures no more than three of them are less than a year old.

But those counts don’t include any children in their care who are relatives or their own children.

Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) voted against the bill.

“This makes me really uncomfortable expanding in this way without addressing the number of children that might be present in the home already from the parent,” Yoder said.

READ MORE: Some child care regulations rolled back under bill approved by Indiana House

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Another Democratic senator, Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis), questioned whether people who regularly visit the home should have background checks. Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) said that’s unreasonable.

“If you want to talk about government overreach, overregulation and increasing the costs — now, you think about that,” Brown said.

The bill passed 8-2 along party lines and now heads to the full Senate.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.