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Proposed child care center fees reduced

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – State health officials agreed today to a sharp drop in what they
proposed to charge in child care licensing fees. But Arizona
Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports the care centers are going
to have to do something in return.

All care centers now pay $150 every three years. State health
chief Will Humble, directed by lawmakers to make the program
self-sufficient, proposed sharp hikes -- to $351 for the smallest
operations and more than $13,000 for the largest. That provoked
squeals of protest from owners and operators. With that
legislative mandate, Humble couldn't back down. But he did find a
way to use federal health grant dollars and tobacco tax funds to
offset some of his cost. Put simply, care centers that agree to a
10-point plan to help kids and their families live healthier
lives will get a discount. Humble said he expects most of the
2,700 child care centers to go along.

"We've created something that doesn't have a lot of bells and
whistles and red tape. It's real easy stuff. These are things
that many centers are already doing. Many families already do
these things."

For example, to get the discount facilities would have to have at
least 60 minutes of structured activity a day. Children would get
only fat-free or low-fat milk and no juices with added sugar.
There could be no more than an hour a day in front of a TV,
computer or video game. And meals would be family style so
children are encouraged to take only what they want and not over