Bill To Let Older Teens Care For Babies, Toddlers In Iowa Child Care Centers

Statewide Iowa – Sixteen and 17-year-olds could care for infants and toddlers at child care centers by themselves under a bill advancing in the Iowa House. There would have to be at least two adults elsewhere in the facility. The bill expands on a law passed in 2022 that lets 16- and 17-year-olds be in charge of school-age kids in child care centers. Republican Representative Devon Wood of New Market says she supports the bill because there’s a workforce shortage in child care centers.

Ryan Page, an administrator in the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, says the change would let a 16-year-old be charge of the care of four babies — or ten three-year-olds.

An official with United Way of Central Iowa says beyond safety concerns, having older teens care for that many infants and toddlers by themselves will lead to burn out — at a time when child care centers hope the 16 and 17 year olds they employ to look after school-aged kids may choose child care as a career.

Photo: Republican Representative Devon Wood of New Market (official photo)


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