New Improvements for Child Care

In a welcome piece of good news from Washington today, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed major new regulations to help protect children in child care centers and family child care homes. “Many children already benefit from the excellent care of high-quality child care providers who are meeting or exceeding the proposed requirements,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “However, too many children remain in settings that do not meet minimum standards of health and safety. These basic rules ensure that providers take necessary basic steps to shield children from avoidable tragedy.”

I met recently with parents whose children had died in child care because these types of regulations did not exist. These parents have been working to help make sure that a similar tragedy wouldn’t happen to other families, and their advocacy has paid off. Child Care Aware of America has led the charge for safety and quality improvements, and we’ve been privileged to partner with them on their efforts. Most parents would be shocked to learn about the current minimal standards.

For all child care providers who accept federal funding through the Child Care and Development Fund, the new regulations would require:

  • Health and safety training in certain areas
  • Compliance with state and local fire, health and building codes
  • Comprehensive background checks (including fingerprinting)
  • On-site monitoring

States would also have to post information online for parents about health, safety, and licensing. The proposed regulations will be open for public comment for 75 days.

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