Child Care State Reports . III. Gaps in Child Care Supply [8]

12/01/1999

  • According to the state plan for 1997-1999, maximum reimbursement rates in Utah are capped at the 75th percentile of market rate, based on biennial market rate surveys.  Providers in Utah may be unwilling to accept subsidized children, or may limit their enrollment, when the state reimbursement rates are lower than their prices (see the example in section II).  As a result, families receiving subsidies may have limited choices of caregivers.  However, as of the summer of 1999, in Salt Lake and Tooele Counties in Utah, all regular child care providers did accept subsidies, according to staff at Child Care Resource and Referral~Metro, a child care resource and referral agency serving those areas.  The resource and referral agency did not have any information about acceptance of subsidies among accredited and odd-hour providers.
  • Staff from the resource and referral agency report shortages in Salt Lake and Tooele Counties in the supply of infant/toddler care, school-age care, and care for children who have special needs or are ill.  Specifically:
    • Infant/toddler care is hard to find in Salt Lake County.  The resource and referral agency did a study of infant/toddler care slots and vacancies in 1991.  Overall only 14 percent of all slots for children less than three years old were vacant throughout the county.  The densely populated Northeast Quadrant of the county had a vacancy rate of less than 5 percent.
    • School-age care is available only in certain locations in Salt Lake and Tooele Counties.  In the areas surrounding some schools, the resource and referral agency does not list a single licensed family home or center provider that provides school-age care.
    • According to staff at Child Care Resource and Referral~Metro, no provider in Utah registered with a resource and referral agency reports offering care for sick children.
    • Parents of children who have special needs report that it is nearly impossible to find qualified care for their children, and little training is available in Utah to help providers prepare for special needs children. When asked by the resource and referral agency, less than one-fifth (17 percent) of providers in Salt Lake and Tooele Counties said they were comfortable taking special needs children.  Most of these providers felt they were not suited to care for profoundly disabled children.