Working for You!
Areas of Focus
Local Government &-Property Owner Barriers to Operation (FCC Marathon Project)
Federal to State Programs
4. Local Government &-Property Owner Barriers to Operation (FCC Marathon Project)
NAFCC Presentation, July 2020: Strategies to Address Local Barriers to Family Child Care Homes: Zoning, Landlords, HOAs, & More
Local government and property owner barriers to starting and operating a FCC home is a substantial and nearly intractable problem. PFCCAG and partner organizations devote much attention to addressing these barriers.
Local Government. Cities and Countries can intentionally or unintentionally prevent family child care (FCC) from starting or operating by:
Creating Land Use Plans which fail to recognize the need for child care.
Creating Zoning requirements related to FCC which:
Are unclear where FCC is addressed (Business Section or Home Based Business Section, or Child Care section or other).
Confuse the larger nature of a child care center with the small residential character of FCC homes.
Prohibit FCC in residential areas (e.g. in multifamily units or in specific zones).
Create inappropriate restrictions on the FCC program in the home (e.g. # of parking spaces unrealistically high, limits on amount of floor space which can be used).
Creating a Zoning process which is:
“One size fits all” making no distinction between a large property development and a single residential request (e.g. floor plan must be drawn by architect).
Long and drawn out requiring many levels of hearings.
Costly based on high application fees and other costs to furnish supporting documents.
In other ways makes it impractical to open.
Creating Business Permit requirements which are complicated and costly.
Creating Fire Safety requirements which conflict or exceed state child care licensing.
Creating Health Department requirements which conflict or exceed state child care licensing.
Landowners. Landowners can intentionally or unintentionally prevent family child care (FCC) from starting or operating by
Landowners can prohibit tenants in rental units from operating a family child care home.
Landowners in neighborhoods with homeowner associations can prohibit owners from operating a family child care home.
PFCCAG Actions. Beginning in 2016, PFCCA began meeting with community and advocacy organizations who have concerns about local barriers.
FCC Marathon Project Established. A coalition was formed which is called the FCC Marathon Project. Initial coalition partners are CDF-Action, PFCCAG, QCC, and United Way of Greater Atlanta. In 2019, the organization 9to5 joined the coalition. The goal of the FCC Marathon project is to: Smooth and shorten the race to provide high quality family child care at the neighborhood level by addressing local government policies creating cost, time and regulatory roadblocks. Our motto is: “It should not be a marathon uphill all the way.”
DeKalb County GA as Pilot. The project initially decided to focus on a single county and, cities within the county, in order to identify specific issues and test strategies for addressing both process and policy issues. We selected DeKalb County GA the cities of Clarkston, Lithonia, and Stone Mountain in DeKalb as well as the “Unincorporated” DeKalb area. The project looked at government planning and zoning sections of these governments, talked to planning and zoning staff and worked with provider applicants going through the process.
Our primary focus was unincorporated DeKalb. We mapped out steps involved in complying with the zoning ordinance and likely timeline for completing the steps. Although each county or city is different, the resulting document can serve as a template for reviewing process and time line issues in other communities (see below).
Local Barriers Tracking-Unincorporated DeKalb County Process 7-15-18
City of Clarkston Success Story. Our partner, CDF Action has a special interest in Clarkston and the possibility of helping recent immigrants and refugees become providers. Roberta Malavenda, CDF Action discovered Clarkston’s zoning ordinance had a provision prohibiting family child care and set out to change the ordinance. And in 2019, she succeeded! Instead of prohibiting family child care it is now “expressly permitted” as a home occupation by the code. This means applicants no longer have to apply for permission or a zoning variance to use their home for family child care purposes.
PFCCAG worked with Roberta and wrote 3 handouts to educate elected officials and planning staff about what is FCC, that FCC is highly regulated through licensing standards and process, and the important role FCC plays for parents, children and neighborhoods (see below).
Family Child Care as a Community Resource 4-2019
PFCCAG Statement on Family Child Care 4-2019
GA Family Child Care Licensing Summary 4-2019
Outreach to FCC Applicants. Applicants for FCCLH licensing must show proof that they comply with zoning and other local requirements (e.g. business permit, Fire Marshall). PFCCAG works with applicants to overcome local barrier problems. We have addressed issues in Johns Creek, unincorporated Gwinnett, Stockbridge and other areas as well as Fire Marshall issues in City of South Fulton. When possible, we attend LOM training and offer help to applicants facing local barrier problems.
Outreach and Coordination with Organizations in Other States. The FCC Marathon Project was initiated after learning about similar efforts in other states. We communicate with these efforts and share ideas. The founding mother of these efforts is the Child Care Law Center (CCLC) in California. They have several publications available for sale most notably A Child Care Advocacy Guide to Land Use Principles and Legal Issues for Family Child Care Providers in California: Housing and Property. They have several free resources on their website (childcarelaw.org) including materials to help a provider, and parents anticipating using her services, prepare for a zoning hearing.
All Our Kin (AOK), a SFCCN in Connecticut, is another resource. AOK shared a report, produced by students at the Yale Law School, which surveys barrier issues nationwide and offers advice on specific CT issues. Most important the report identifies states which passed laws restricting or prohibiting local government from creating requirements for FCC homes than are required by the state child care licensing law (see below). This is an option the FCC Marathon Project will pursue in the future.
AOK-Yale Law School Obstacles to Affordable Care in CT 2-11-19
5. Federal to State Programs.
PFCCAG is not as involved with federal funding, policies, and legislation and we are with these same issues in GA but we recognize that Congress makes critical decisions concerning funding and policies affecting providers in GA. For that reason, we keep track of issues, educate our members, and coordinate with national child advocacy organizations. Currently we are keeping track of:
Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). As of October 2019, the Houses Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill includes an additional $2.4 billion for CCDF while the Senate only includes $25 million. If the house proposal is approved, GA will receive a substantial increase in CAPS funding.
PFCCAG Actions. PFCCA tracks the congressional budgeting and appropriation process for CCDF funds. We alert members to contact their respective congresspersons when appropriate.
Preschool Development Grant (PDG). In December 2018, Georgia was awarded a $2.9 million Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education. The funds will be used to design and implement activities to help ensure that Georgia’s children from birth to age 5 have access to high-quality early childhood care and education services and programs. The initial award covers one year, but in the fall of 2020, Georgia will be eligible to compete for additional funding of up to $45 million over three more years. DECAL plans to focus on the following populations: children in poverty, children in foster care, children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, children living in rural areas, infants and toddlers and dual language learners.
PFCCAG Actions. PFCCAG followed the legislative process which authorized the PDG process and funding. We have submitted comments to DECAL concerning implementation of the planning process and will support DECAL’s effort to secure additional funding.
Proposed Federal Legislation. Interest in child care is growing among Republican and Democratic legislators and PFCCAG tracks developments. For example, President Trump’s 2020 budget calls for a $1 billion one time only expenditure to improve access to care for underserved populations. Senator Patty Murray, introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, which amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant, paying for the cost of quality and compensating the child care workforce for their crucial work etc. Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed a Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act allowing local licensed programs (centers and FCC) to provide access for free to any family that makes less than 200% of the federal poverty line.
PFCCAG Actions. PFCCAG would like to be more involved with proposed federal legislation and keep members informed on these issues. We do a modest job now and will look for ways to increase our work in this area.