Chesapeake City Council recommends eliminating some home daycares

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Some family day homes in Chesapeake could be eliminated as recommended by city council. A resolution to make amendments to Article 14 of the Chesapeake zoning ordinance was brought before council in a Jan. 18 meeting.

Family day homes are child-care centers requiring a state license set in a home.

Level I homes can have up to four kids. Level II homes can have up to 12. The changes to the ordinance would prevent new Level II family day homes from opening.

Kiala Hodges' 3-year-old son Kingston goes to a family day home when she's at work or at school.

"It takes a while for him to get comfortable with people so I feel like this is really effective for him. She's licensed, she's well regulated. I see improvements with him," said Hodges. "I didn't think that they wanted to take away our choice for where we're going to bring our child. The person that's going to watch them for childcare. It just completely took me aback."

Lashelle Wingfield has had a family day home for the last seven years. She currently has 12 kids at her family day home. She said the one-on-one attention along with flexibility is something parents look for.

"Almost half of our families are military. So when they have duty or need those extended hours as long as I'm available I let them know," said Wingfield.

She said when she went through her licensing process, the council was more than helpful, so she's surprised by the recommendation.

"I was a little bit confused because I wanted to know what changed with the city of Chesapeake with the level of support they have for family day homes," said Wingfield.

Wingfield added existing family day homes will be grandfathered in, but she's worried if the changes go through, new family day homes will go off market, which means they're unlicensed, unregulated and could have more children than they're supposed to.

The planning commission will make a recommendation to council February 14.