Legislation has been introduced in New Jersey that would clear the path for many new mosdos to operate state-recognized childcare centers. If passed, the exemption would also pave the way for many more low-income parents to receive government subsidies for the services.
“As New Jersey families and communities continue to grow, the need for childcare centers rises,” Rabbi Avi Schnall, director of Agudath Israel’s New Jersey division, told Hamodia. “This legislation will be of great assistance to many low-income families.”
Under the present law, non-private schools must have kindergarten through sixth-grade in order to gain exemption from the state’s licensing requirement. The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Sean Kean, a Republican whose district includes Lakewood, would waive this pre-requisite, which effectively bars all new schools from qualifying for the exemption for the first seven years of their existence.
Assemblyman Kean was not available for comment.
The licensing exemption is widely relied upon as Rabbi Schnall described the application process as “daunting, costly and difficult.” Furthermore, newly founded institutions, typically housed in temporary facilities, cannot meet the formal licensing requirements.
The federal government provides generous subsidies for childcare for the benefit of low-income families, but it is up to states to set regulations. Parents can only receive funds for children registered in programs that are formally registered by the state.
The grade level requirement does not apply to public schools. The proposal says that it intends to achieve “parity” between the state-funded and private systems, as well as to expand options in communities.