The Cost of Child Care Regulation

May 25 2023 at 3:06pm

andy- Not what I said. I specifically said I think that most parents will make good decisions, but we know many parents dont. So is there any role for government in trying to protect kids? You have to live in a very isolated world to not realize how badly some kids are treated or how bad some parents treat their kids. David seems to be advocating that we make no attempt to protect kids which means our only recourse is to try to fix these kids after they are damaged. In this particular case there is a body of literature looking at ratios and you do have safety issues as the ratio increases.

In the case of child care you could take a number of approaches. You could just require child care places to publish their care ratios and the risks/benefits associated with their chosen ratio. As noted, some parents just arent that bright and wouldn’t think to question that but when seen in writing they could make an informed decision. Maybe we make it easier to sue if a center staffs above known safe ratios. Maybe we require the centers to carry insurance so that if a child is damaged at least their insurance would cover the costs rather than the rest of us.

At any rate, you need to choose your trade offs. Is it better to limit the choices of parents who will make good decisions, knowing that they will largely choose the safer option anyway, or do we opt for higher risks for kids and how much higher is OK? Oh, and who pays?