Blind Day Care Workers?

As someone who had a job doing day care during my early college years, I can tell you definitively that this is probably a bad idea — but — well, take a gander at the story first…

A judge has cleared the way for a blind couple to open a day care center in Colorado, saying the state’s refusal to issue them a license violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Christine Hutchinson said she and her husband, Thomas, will move ahead with plans to open a facility, although they are worried they will be hounded by inspectors looking for problems.

If they stopped now, she said, “We felt it would be an injustice to the kids we fought so hard to care for.”

Administrative Law Judge Matthew Norwood last week overturned a state decision denying the Hutchinsons a day care license.

The couple would apparently be the first blind couple to operate a day care in Colorado, one of only a few states where courts have allowed blind people to run day cares, the couple’s attorney, Scott LaBarre, said Wednesday.

…Both hold bachelor’s degrees in child and family studies and have taken first aid courses. Before applying for a license, they also bought safety devices to help them run a day care. Thomas Hutchinson has been blind from birth; Christine Hutchinson can perceive light.

Human Services denied them a license last year Christine Hutchinson’s doctor suggested her blindness could “adversely affect” children.

In his ruling, Norwood said the state could not deny the license based only on the couple’s blindness, especially when the Hutchinsons have shown competence in caring for children.

He said the license would include restrictions the Hutchinsons would impose on themselves, including no children under 3, no more than four children at a time and no overnight stays.

Now, let’s get a few things straight right off the bat. Blindness is an ENORMOUS handicap when you’re taking care of kids. In fact, it’s so much of a handicap that I would never consider hiring a blind person to do day care. If you can’t watch a kid to see what he’s doing, there is just no way you can properly supervise him. Kids hit each other, they get hurt, they do stupid things like deliberately knocking down wasp nests, they wander off, they throw things, etc., etc., etc.. If you can’t see them, you can’t necessarily tell when they’re doing something wrong or maybe even dangerous.

Yet and still, the Hutchinsons should be able to open a day care if they so desire.

Why so?

Well, while being blind puts a person at a tremendous disadvantage in taking care of children, there are obviously some people who can pull it off. After all, there are blind parents raising kids in this country.

Furthermore, while the rates the Hutchinsons charge aren’t listed, if the cost is low enough and they have taken enough precautions to satisfy parents that their kids are safe, there might be some people willing to take advantage of their services. If that’s the case, why should the government arbitrarily intrude, “especially when the Hutchinsons have shown competence in caring for children?”

Sure, there might be more risk involved in having a blind person running a day care. But ultimately, parents, not the government, should be the ones deciding whether the Hutchinsons can adequately take care of their kids.

Hat tip to Right-Thinking From The Left Coast for the story.

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