Pilot program could turn vacated state-owned Utah properties into child care centers

Feb 9, 2024, 9:00 AM | Updated: Feb 15, 2024, 12:35 pm

Toddlers dance during play time at Living Water Child Care and Learning Center as center director J...

Toddlers dance during play time at Living Water Child Care and Learning Center as center director Jackie Branch looks on in Williamson, W.Va. on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

(AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

SALT LAKE CITY — Potential new legislation in Utah targets the child care crisis in Salt Lake County.

  Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, sponsors the SB 176 that would turn several vacant state-owned properties in Salt Lake County into child care centers.

“I am committed to addressing Utah’s child care crisis head-on. (To) recognizing that our state’s economic prosperity hinges on the accessibility of high-quality, affordable child care for working families,” Escamilla said in a press release.

“SB 176 represents a bold yet practical solution that harnesses the strengths of both public and private sectors to expand child care options and support the well-being of Utah’s children and workforce.”

Officials would establish the pilot program in Salt Lake County according to the press release. 

The goal is to help expand child care services in the area and support parents who need a place for their children to go while they are at work.

Additionally, the bill aims to, “promote economic growth and utilize obsolete state property.”

The creation of a new child care options in Utah

The Division of Facilities Construction and Management office would be responsible for finding appropriate locations.

Then a construction timeline would be put into place. 

According to the press release, these buildings “will be offered to private enterprises through a no-cost lease agreement.”

Those private enterprises must put 60% of their daycare capacity towards serving children of partnering businesses. The last 40% would be used to accommodate children who belong to state employees, local community members and military personnel.

If passed. the bill takes effect on May 1, 2024.


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Pilot program could turn vacated state-owned Utah properties into child care centers