LEWISTON - Lewiston City Manager Alan Nygaard has signed and enacted Public Health Emergency Order No. 20-09, suspending the child-staff ratio point system set forth in Lewiston City Code. This action will increase the availability of needed child care in the community.
The City of Lewiston recognizes that reliable child care is a critical resource for working families at all times, but especially during the current pandemic. The City also understands that if schools close or limit their hours of operation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to an already critically low number of child care providers in the City of Lewiston will be even more difficult due to reduced allowed enrollment capacities at child care and preschool facilities.
City staff surveyed licensed childcare providers in Lewiston and received an overwhelming amount of support to expand their enrollment capacities in response to the current need. Taking that impactful feedback into consideration and consulting with the City’s Community Development Director, City Planner and City Business Licensing Coordinator, City Manager Alan Nygaard has signed and enacted Public Health Emergency Order No. 20-09, suspending the child-staff ratio point system set forth in Lewiston City Code § 21-138. Standards. and defaulting to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s child-staff ratio point system.
Written in the Lewiston City Code, staff engaged in the supervision and care of the children must be within sight and/or hearing of the children at all times and close enough to assist a child in an emergency. For child-to-staff ratio purposes, all children on premises shall be counted. Child-to-staff ratios for each classification shall be a maximum of twelve (12) points per child care employee based upon the following point system:
Family and group classifications:
Children of the provider: when children of the provider reside on the facility premises, points for provider’s children over the age of five (5) years shall equal zero (0) points.
Center and preschool classifications:
“This is a necessary action in order to increase the availability of needed child care in our community,” Alan Nygaard said. “We consider every working family in our City to be essential and the need for additional childcare already existed, so the impacts of the current pandemic made that need even stronger.”
The Lewiston City Council approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 4760, which amends Chapter 21 of City Code (in part) by aligning the child-staff ratio with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s child-staff ratio point system permanently.
The second and third readings, and potential adoption of this ordinance will take place at the Lewiston City Council’s regular meeting on December 14, 2020. If the Council votes to adopt the ordinance, this child-staff ratio will be in effect indefinitely, and Public Health Emergency Order No. 20-09 will be null and void.