In response to the article titled, “Lee gets an earful during stop in Mountain City”, featured on the front page of the July 24th edition of the Tomahawk, I would like to clarify what I said to Governor Lee regarding Johnson County’s need for daycare. I did say that Johnson County parents are in desperate need for more daycare options, immediately. However, I didn’t complain about the current cost of daycare in our county, I complained about the lack of daycares operating in Johnson County. I told the Governor that most in-home baby sitters had been forced to close in early June due to strict regulations that has been placed on the childcare providers here. I told the Governor that in order for in-home baby sitters to abide by the present state regulations, the cost for them to operate would inflate our daycare expense by approximately 40%. Basically, the current regulations are unattainable for rural areas like Johnson County. I did say that DHS has not been cooperative, but I didn’t say that they wouldn’t talk to us on the phone. I would also like to clarify that I was not referring to DHS at the local level, I was referring to the DHS office in Nashville not cooperating with concerned residents that have been directly affected by these strict rules. My primary reason for speaking to Governor Lee was to request that he create a waiver form, that parents could sign stating they are aware their childcare provider is not within the state regulations. In my opinion, if a parent trusts the in-home babysitter to watch their child, the state should not get to dictate that parent’s decision. Finally, I completely agree with Governor Lee’s response to my concerns, he said, “the state is concerned with children’s safety above all else, but I understand that sometimes the government overreaches.” I truly believe that the current regulations DHS is imposing on in-home babysitters is an example of government overreach and hope that Governor Lee will find a solution that works for Johnson County as quickly as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sally Snyder