Quality Child Care, Chapter 2

Chapter 2–Licensing and Regulations

You need to be aware that there are specific licensing requirements that regulate programs in your location.  They are filled with tedious language and legalize but they are important.  Each State has developed regulations to protect children in child care and some counties and cities have additional requirements.  You can usually view them on line if you wish and if there is a parent friendly version available you may request a copy by calling your licensing agency.  The following categories should be covered, and these are the items you will want to be aware of as you begin your search for the right program for your child.

Safety and Health issues

  1. What is the background screening process for staff?  It should  be done for all the people who would have contact with your child–teachers, directors, cooks, cleaning staff etc. and up-dated every 2-5 years
  2.  How often is First Aid Training provided and how many staff are certified?    Should have a minimum of two and more in a larger program.   First aid supplies and emergency contact phone numbers should be available in every classroom and in the office.   Medical files on your child should be up-dated whenever immunizations are given, every two years for physical examination and when recovered from serious contagious illness.
  3. What is the teacher/caregiver to child ratio?  Best practices would be 1/3 for infants and toddlers, 1/5-7 two-year-olds, 1/8-10 three to five-year-olds.
  4. If transportation is provided what are the inspection requirements for the vehicle and the training requirements for the drivers?  Vehicles should be checked daily by staff and annually by authorized service people, and drivers should be certified for appropriate size of vehicle and tested annually
  5. What are the space requirements both inside and outside?  Thirty-five square feet per child inside is recommended and fifty square feet outside.
  6. What are the policies regarding the nutritional value of the meals and snacks?  USDA and State regulations which have have specific guidelines based upon the age of the child should be used
  7. What are the provisions for quiet and/or nap time?  All children under four should have a safe and comfortable mat or cot for napping and rest time should be no less than one hour.  Young infants should nap on individual schedules and in cribs.  Older infants generally need a mid morning and afternoon nap.

Staff Requirements

8.What are the educational and training requirements for teachers, assistant teachers, director?  Lead teachers and directors should have a CDA or degree in early childhood education or child development.  All adults should have training in health and safety, child abuse, developmentally appropriate practices, and guidance and discipline.
9. What are the age requirements for directors, teachers and assistants?  Twenty-one or older for owners, directors and teachers and eighteen for assistants.
10. How many staff are required to have certification or a degree in a relevant field–early childhood education, child development etc.?  All lead teachers

Activities and Scheduling
11. Are lesson plans required?  Weekly lesson plans should be developed and posted.
12. Are there requirements for a variety of activities?  The activities should foster cognitive, social/emotional and physical development preferably through hands on activities in age appropriate learning centers
13. Is the child care center required to post a schedule of activities?  The schedule should be posted in each classroom

Licensing and Inspection Requirements
14. Is the center required to prominently display the license?  The license should be prominently displayed in the office or near the entrance to the facility
15. Are inspection reports posted or available to parents?  How often is the center inspected?  Are the visits spontaneous or pre announced?  The center should not know when an inspection will take place.  The program should be inspected at least every 3 months and reports should be displayed where they are visible to parents.
16. Is a guidance or discipline policy given to parents and/or posted?  Parents should always have a copy of the discipline policy of the center.
17. Are there guidelines regarding potential fines or actions such as probation or suspension of license available to the licensing agency?  The licensing agency should have clear guidelines for violations of the regulations and parents should be able to discuss the criteria with the agency if needed.

Armed with these questions you are ready for the next step in your search for the right program for your child.

Leave A Comment