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Missouri Senate endorses rating system for child care centers

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A bill that would create a 5-star rating system for child care facilities in Missouri has been endorsed by the State Senate.

The sponsor, Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields (R, St. Joseph), says it would be similar to ratings given to hotels and restaurants.

"At this point it's voluntary, which we think is entirely appropriate...but down the road when the state buys these services, we would hope that we'd be able to use that rating system to pay for quality, so we'd pay more for a 4-star center than we would for a 3-star center," Shields said.

Opponents say the rating system could drive up the cost of child care facilities.

State Senator Jolie Justus (D, Kansas City) attempted to add an amendment that would have delayed implementation until the state increases child care subsidies for poorer Missourians.

"Before we can address quality ratings systems, we need to first look at the child care reimbursement process that we do for low-income working families in Missouri...right now we're last in the nation when it comes to child care subsidies," Justus said.

The amendment failed on a 15-15 tie vote.

A final Senate vote is needed before the bill can be sent to the Missouri House.

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