In spite of half of Idaho children under age 6 needing child care, a new survey indicates that the Gem State ranks last in the nation when it comes to oversight of its day care providers. The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the advocacy group Child Care Aware has continued to rank Idaho "dead last for its regulation of child care centers." The nonprofit said Idaho's threshold requiring licensing—seven children—is too high "and leaves too many unregulated small, in-home day cares putting kids at risk."
The Press-Tribune reports that private or religious schools are exempt from day care licensing for children over 4 years of age or a religious kindergarten. A day care license—usually good for two years—costs $100 for six or fewer children, $250 for 13 to 25 children, and $325 for 26 or more children in attendance at any given time.
The 2009 Idaho Legislature agreed to lowering the day care license requirement to seven or more children. Previously, licenses were only required for those caring for 13 or more children. Anyone caring for four or more children in an in-home day care must also undergo a criminal background check.