The Boise City Council could soon implement recommendations for private day care facilities that originated with First Lady Michelle Obama.
The guidelines could also mean public disclosure for any care providers who decide to operate outside of the rules, which are part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity.
City councilman TJ Thomson is spearheading the movement, which would impose four new standards for providers, including health standards for meals and snacks, limits on sedentary screen time and recommended amounts of physical activity for kids. The new rules would also push providers to provide private areas for moms to nurse children.
Boise has about 300 private facilities.
The rules are optional, meaning there would be no fine or other enforcement measure if facilities don’t follow the guidelines. But, that hardly means providers would escape without consequences.
Instead, the city would use a website to list all the businesses that don’t follow the regulations. “Providers would not lose their license or be fined for not following the healthy initiatives policies,” Thomson wrote on his Facebook wall this week. “However, parents would be able to see who is following the policy via a public website, when making their decision as to which child care center they will utilize.”
The city already inspects day cares for licensing purposes and, if the council passes the proposal, Thomson wants the inspectors to ensure the providers follow the new health standards. Any violators would be noted on a day care listing website the city already operates.
The measure calls for each of the 300 licensed facilities in the city to take about four hours of training.
Al Trees, co-founder of Tea Party Boise, scoffed at the rules. “Gotta love the nannies!” Trees wrote, inferring that the city is overreaching into the private sector’s dealings and instituting nanny state regulations.
Trees was also dubious that the regulations would remain optional for businesses. “When do you anticipate this will become mandatory?” he pressed Thomson. “It’s just a matter of time, isn’t it?”
Others applauded Thomson for his efforts, cheering the idea of having the detailed information about day care providers in a single location on the Internet.
The council discussed the proposal this week, but it may be awhile before the group makes a final decision. “We are very early in the process and still look forward to collecting additional input from the public and child care providers at several open houses in the months ahead,” Thomson wrote.