Bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. may make it impossible for an informal parent group to meet.
For 45 years, parents have brought their two-year-olds to the Lutheran Church of the Reformation as part of a cooperative play school endeavor. It's a chance to socialize with other haggard moms and (presumably some) dads dealing with the terrible twos, and it's volunteer run. But as Karin Lips, mom of a baby she hopes will join the club in two years, writes in The Washington Post:
On Sept. 7, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education investigators inspected a playgroup of toddlers to assess whether the cooperative was an illegal daycare. The investigators issued Capitol Hill Cooperative Play School parents a "statement of deficiencies," alleging that the Capitol Hill Cooperative Play School was violating the regulations that apply to a "child development facility."
The problem—which isn't actually a problem, unless you define it as such—is that because the play group has some rules and requirements, including the fact that parents must submit emergency contact forms, as well as tell the group when their kid is sick, the play group is not a play group but a "child development facility." And child development facilities are subject to regulation and licensing by the government.
As Lips points out, this actually creates an incentive for parent-run play groups to be less safe, because if they don't have rules about emergency contact info, and how to evacuate and such, they are considered officially "informal" and can go on their merry, possibly slipshod, way:
The D.C. Council should consider what will happen if the government regulates voluntary cooperatives like this out of existence. For starters, these parents and 2-year-olds will be worse off, denied the opportunity to get together for a few hours each week to visit with their friends.
But this regulatory encroachment could be the District's first step toward broader government overreach in this area and the crowding-out of voluntary associations. From nanny-shares to babysitting co-ops to regularly scheduled times to play at public parks, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education investigators could find new opportunities to crack down on the voluntary ways that D.C. families approach playtime and child care for their children.
Take a step back and you see a group of people—toddlers and parents—enjoying themselves. They're meeting, playing, and perfectly content. But another group is trying to butt in and end the fun—and the convenience.
Just who's acting like a two-year-old?