Fairfax Co. day care providers say new regs complicate business

WASHINGTON – A change in regulation to allow more openings at in-home day cares in Fairfax County, the Washington metro area’s most populated county, has the potential to backfire.

Fairfax County now allows 12 children per home-based day care, up from 10, making it the same as state regulations.

But some day care operators, like Susan Gallagher of Burke, Va., say the new regulations may chase operators close to retirement out of business.

“A lot of them are getting close to the end or they don’t really need the income, so it’s not worth it to them to go through the stress and anxiety of the whole process. Me? I have to do it,” says Gallagher.

Fairfax County lost about 50 home-based centers in the last year, bringing the number down to 400.

Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, who worries increasing a home day care’s size could hurt the quality of care, says neighbors who complain are is still the first line of defense.

Judy Robinson runs a home day care center with 10 kids in Centreville, Va. But she says the new regulations that would allow her to expand to 12 are complicated.

“We have to comply with all this stuff that they require during business hours, because a lot of that stuff has to be done during business hours,” she says.

Home day care centers in Fairfax County must be licensed. Parents should ask to see an operator’s license before selecting a day care.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted for the increase to comply with state regulations.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergWTOP and @WTOP> on Twitter.

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