Utah's Office of Child Care became a reality Monday when Gov. Norm H. Bangerter officially opened it and introduced the new director, Dianne Yancey.
The Legislature created the office to help businesses become involved in child care. Now, with the governor's full support, Yancey will begin coordinating resources, educating the public and encouraging businesses to develop child-care options.Bangerter introduced Yancey during a press conference at the Intermountain Health Care Child Development Center, 48 S. 400 East. The facility received the Governor's Award for Innovative Corporate Excellence as a child-care provider for employees.
Utah government operates child-care facilities for Health Department employees and the Utah State Hospital. It's considering establishing other sites because "we want to set an example," Bangerter said.
"Parents need quality affordable child care, employers need productive workers and our children deserve our best care. I believe it (child care) is a sound investment and part of our nation's future. My office will be actively involved in promoting child care."
Yancey said there's a misconception that businesses can only be involved in child care by setting up an in-house facility. Options range from establishing a facility to providing vouchers to purchase services (paid for by the employee), setting flexible work schedules, offering a "menu" of benefits that includes child care, referral services and several other options. Businesses can also "organize with each other so they can provide that kind of care." Yancey said her office would provide the information the community needs to have successful child care.
The office is the result of a study by a governor's task force that was headed by Olene Walker. After months of gathering information, the panel worked on getting legislation passed to establish the office.
The Office of Child Care is administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development to send a mes-sage, Walker said. The message is that providing child care is good business for companies.
Businesses that provide child care find that it improves productivity and reduces absenteeism, tardiness and turnover rates, Bangerter said.
The governor also introduced members of the advisory board to the Office of Child Care. They are Ann M. Berghout-Austin, associate professor at Utah State University; Jean M. Larsen, coordinator of Early Childhood Education for Brigham Young University; Coralie Alder, director of the Coalition for Utah's Future; Kathy Mashburn, a care provider at Young People's Academy; Human Services Director Norman G. Angus; Health Department Director Dr. Suzanne Dandoy; Bruce T. Griffin, associate superintendent of the State Board of Education; Jack Schiefer, branch manager for AT and Bob Marquardt, president of Meridian Publishing.