April 06, 2020

Brewer expected to allow more children per day care site

BREWER — An eight-year fight to reform Brewer’s day care ordinances appears to be at an end.

At a hearing Tuesday night, a set of sweeping reforms designed to expand the number of children a home care facility may house received no public objection and little official comment.

The City Council is likely to recommend approval of the changes at its regular meeting Jan. 13.

The changes would essentially allow day care facilities to care for up to 12 children per facility. Brewer’s current cap of four children per site makes its ordinances the most restrictive in the state.

A previous attempt to reform the system failed in 1989. Day care providers credit their current success to the doggedness of Kimberly McCormick, who led the most recent reform effort, and to a more receptive city government.

“Kim stuck to her guns and made the city realize that there was a problem with the way day cares were handled,” said Dudley Harvey, who runs the State Street Day Care in Brewer. “This is great news for Brewer’s families.”

Under the proposed changes, approval of child-to-staff ratios would be left in the hands of the Department of Human Services, not the city. Those facilities wishing to care for four or fewer children would be subject to minimal standards under the auspices of the city code enforcer.

In a nod to those residents who objected to changing the law, day care facilities wishing to house between five and 12 children would require a public hearing and approval of a site plan by the planning board.

After a joint meeting of the council and the Brewer Planning Board Tuesday, the board voted to approve the proposed reforms.

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