Conflicting state, Fairfax County day care rules hit parents, providers

Changing rules could have home day care centers in Fairfax County cutting back on how many children they will accept.

The move would leave parents stuck in the middle, trying to find child care in an increasingly difficult market.

After running a day care out of her home for more than two decades, Cece Holman is in a bind.

"I shouldn't be put in this predicament," Holman said.

Under current regulations, the state allows her to have up to 12 children. But the state now wants her to follow Fairfax County rules as well.

And the county only allows seven children.

"If I had to drop down to seven, I would have to let go of five children," Holman said.

She wouldn't be alone because there are close to 500 people running licensed home day cares in the county.

"The children who are part time or children, who are on the child healthcare system, may be cut first,” Holman said.

It's painful for her, but it is a business and fewer children, means less money.

Holman would also have to let go of her help. In this case, it's her sister, who's on her payroll.

"I can't imagine which five children I would let go," Holman says. "It would break my heart."

It's a major concern for Elizabeth Mahoney, a mother of two. She can't imagine having to look for another daycare.

"The children are so bonded to Cece [Holman] and her family," Mahoney said. "That's a disconnection for them I hope we don't have to face."

Because her kids, Shaela and Duncan, only go to day care part time, it took her about a year to find child care.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova admits the county and state requirements should closely match and wants to fix the discrepancy."We're trying to streamline and make that process easier and we're also looking at ways to make the cost a little bit less," Bulova said.

Currently, home day care owners have to pay the county around $1,000 to get licensed.

The county has public hearings on the issued scheduled for March 20 and May 14.

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