Empty state buildings could be utilized for child care under new legislation by Sen. Sara Kyle
Affordable, accessible child care a family pocketbook issue, senator says
NASHVILLE — Legislation introduced by Sen. Sara Kyle to boost the number of child care providers across the state is moving onto a vote in the full Senate.
Affordable, accessible child care is a pocketbook issue for many families, Sen. Kyle says, but, collectively, the scarcity of child care services also hurts the state economy when parents have no option but to drop out of the workforce or put off plans for a new business.
“This legislation addresses a real problem that many of our young parents are facing every day — finding a safe, affordable, and loving environment place to send their children when they return to the workforce,” Sen. Kyle says. “By passing this legislation, we send a message that Tennessee truly values our employees and their families by making this a priority of our state, while also setting the bar to provide the best child care services our state has to offer.”
According to Tennesseans for Quality Early Education, 48 percent of people in Tennessee live in a child care dessert, which is defined as having three times as many children as licensed child care providers.
Under Senate Bill 22, child care providers could lease unused state property to offer child care services to state employees at a cost set by the provider.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved Sen. Kyle’s legislation Tuesday.
“While the real impetus of this legislation is to provide more child care options for our own workforce,” Sen. Kyle says. “I would also point out, that by providing this service for one of the state’s largest employers, we will free up spots for other parents who are seeking similar services.”