Here’s one of those strange but true stories that can drive anyone nuts. Talk about laws that try to override good neighborly values. And yes, this is a true story.

A Michigan mom has been told to stop watching three of her neighbor’s kids before school, because she doesn’t have a state daycare license. Lisa Snyder, the mother of a first grader, is just trying to help the other mothers by doing something she would be doing anyways, and she’s not charging for her services.

But Michigan law requires care givers to get licensed if they watch others kids for more than 4 weeks during a year. Ouch! This is not much time, just think about a local group of moms that rotate watching kids before the bus each week; they would fall into this trap before New Year’s.


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There are a couple of things to be learned from this story.

  1. Please, please know the rules of the state you are in. Officials do not look kindly on the defense of “I didn’t know”. I have a brief overview of each state here: daycare license requirements, but if you have any questions, check with your state and local authorities.
  2. In most cases, common sense applies but not always (as in the Michigan example).
  3. It’s not that hard to become licensed in most states. It sounds scary but often it’s just a matter of paper work, very much like registering your car.
  4. There might just be a business opportunity here. If you know a couple of people who need help with before & after care, you may have stumbled onto a profitable little business for yourself. Talk to as many people as possible, and do your research.

Hopefully in the end smarter heads will prevail and this Michigan case will be dismissed. Stay tuned.