Feb 13, 2024 - News

New rules could expand daycare capacity in Salt Lake City

Illustration of a stroller with a "help wanted" sign hanging from the push handle.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New city rules could make it easier to start a daycare in Salt Lake.

Why it matters: Utah's child care shortage is financially straining families, with the average expense of infant and toddler care roughly on par with college tuition.

State of play: With Salt Lake County's daycare capacity less than half of what's needed, families frequently encounter waitlists that far exceed not only parental leave, but also human gestation.

  • In other words, you'd need to apply for a slot before you're even pregnant.

What's happening: In a memo last week, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall called on the city council to double the maximum enrollment at in-home daycares from eight to 16 kids — the same as state code allows.

  • The changes would also eliminate zoning restrictions for certain types of daycares. Commercial locations, for example, would be allowed in residential neighborhoods.

The latest: COVID-related emergency funding for child care expired late last year, putting hundreds of Utah daycares at risk of closure or rate hikes.

Worth your time: The Salt Lake Tribune outlined the projected need for child care in a story on Monday.

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