Tulsa City Councilors Approve Zoning Changes, Making Daycare Centers Easier To Open

Tulsa City Councilors Approve Zoning Changes, Making Daycare Centers Easier To Open

It’s now going to be easier for people to open a home daycare in the city of Tulsa, after city councilors approved zoning changes.

Tulsa is considered a childcare desert, so this change means more families and kids will likely have more options when it comes to daycare.

The changes mean more home daycares can open more easily, and with so many parents needing this help, city leaders said this should benefit everyone.

“When I wake up, I step into work," said Jasmine Stewart. 

Jasmine Stewart is passionate about helping children.

Behind sliding doors, the back part of her home is a full-time state complaint childcare center, serving as many as seven kids ages 1 to 4.

“We are a part of their village, we are important to them, we are their second teachers," Stewart said.

Jasmine partners with Tulsa Educare, a childcare organization that has 4 centers and works with 130 home daycares like Jasmine’s.

“I didn’t know about family childcare homes when I had young children," said Cindy Decker. "It's a safe, homey environment.”

Executive Director Cindy Decker said Tulsa is a childcare desert.

She said before the city council’s vote on Wednesday, there were unnecessary restrictions put on home daycares, and these zoning changes cut some of the red tape.

“We now have the conditions within our city so more childcare providers can come online, be compliant with the city laws, and hopefully we can have more childcare in Tulsa given it's such a problem," she said.

City council member Laura Bellis said it's beneficial for everyone.

"It helps business owners," Bellis said. "These are small business entrepreneurs, primarily women. This can economically uplift while providing safe space for children to be.”

"You really do become family, seeing these parents and talking about the love and care for the children," Stewart said. "They really appreciate that."

Educare is working to get even more positive changes passed to continue improving childcare in the city.