Daycare centers may be required to have kitchens

photo by Bailey Maloney
photo by Bailey Maloney

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Department of health has proposed a new series of regulations for all child care facilities to have a full kitchen after Jan. 1.

If this regulation approved it will impact many centers across the state.

According the Mississippi Department of Health, the state has 1,503 licensed centers, but not all of those have full kitchens.

Owner of M&M Learning Center Jerry Robertson said, "For smaller facilities that aren't as blessed as I am to have a great kitchen, they are going to be faced with significant expenses to comply with the regulation."

The regulation states that each kitchen must be a certain square footage based on how many children are at the center.

The regulations are listed as follows:

1-50 Children must have a minimum of 90 Sq. Ft.

51-70 Children must have a minimum of 150 Sq. Ft.

71-100 Children must have a minimum of 210 Sq. Ft.

100 and over must have a minimum of 300 Sq. Ft.

Existing facilities are grandfathered in under these new regulations and will not have to have to have a full kitchen, but some owners said that the regulation reads unclear.

According to the rules, the center must be continuously in operation to qualify for the grandfather provision. If there is a break in use due a change of ownership, the grandfather provision might not apply any longer.

The Board of Health is meeting on Oct. 8 in Jackson to make a final determination on the regulation.

The public is invited to the hearing.

Watchdog Reporter Steve Wilson said, "I think you are going to find there are plenty of day care owners and operators that are upset who are concerned about this issue."

Wilson said that he expects a strike this in October.

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