Right now is the best time to loosen childcare regulation

For a long time, many states have been facing childcare shortages as well as high prices. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made things worse.

To deal with the issue, some states have instituted programs to fund providers and keep them in business. And some other states have focused on loosening regulations to help providers stay in business.

This is all good and well. Businesses are facing an unprecedented environment. So loosening regulations would go a long way in mitigating some of the harm caused by the virus and the pandemic itself.

But legislators should also note that problems being faced by businesses due to strict regulation will always be with us even after the pandemic is over. This is why the changes being made right now should be made permanent.

In Minnesota, a lot of childcare providers are struggling financially, and some may not manage to stay open until the pandemic is over. And if that happens, it would exacerbate what is already a crisis.

This is why now is the best time for the state legislature to work on loosening childcare regulations permanently. This will ensure that the state is better prepared to handle the surge in demand that will follow the end of the lockdown.

Long term implications

We do not expect the coronavirus to persist forever. After the lockdown is over and people are back to work, the demand for childcare services will go up. And if nothing is done now, Minnesota will be in a more dire situation than it was before the coronavirus. Childcare shortage will have worsened and prices will have gone up. But that can be avoided by ensuring that daycare providers stay in business during the pandemic.

While some states have suspended rules like capacity ratios, the state of Minnesota has not made any changes to its rules. Minnesota`s childcare landscape is, however, in worse shape compared to most states.

Minnesota has some of the country’s highest childcare prices. Moreover, there is a rampant shortage, especially in the rural areas. Family childcare providers have been exiting the childcare market in droves in recent, contributing to a shortage of spaces.

So, in order to ensure that providers stay in the market and new providers are incentivized to enter the market, the state should start easing rules before the pandemic is over. Minnesota childcare service providers are saddled with burdensome regulations that drive up prices and prevent new entrants.

Sure, providing funding will provide some relief to the providers, but the only action that can address the childcare crisis long-term is regulatory reform.