ARLINGTON, VA – Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada announced Tuesday that the county will maintain its high standards for child care rather than repeal them and follow state laws. Tejada made the announcement at the start of a Board public work session on the county’s FY2014 budget.
“The Board is committed to maintaining Arlington’s inspections of child care facilities and training for providers,” said Tejada. “Although most localities in Virginia rely on the state alone to conduct inspections on child care facilities, Arlington has, for more than 40 years, provided an extra layer of inspections and training for providers – and the Board is committed to continuing both of those elements.”
At issue was a budget proposal which would have closed the county Office of Child Care and repealed Arlington County’s child care standards. Tejada said, “People have been weighing in. Clearly, the standards we have are excellent. This is the kind of value that residents expect and we have to comply.”
Child Care Aware® of America provided information and resources to support the higher quality standards that the county has had for 40 years. A March 26 public hearing drew dozens of parents and providers who testified about the stark differences between the county’s child care policies and the state law.
“We were pleased to hear the commitment to families and to children by the Arlington County Board,” said Lynette M. Fraga Ph.D., Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “Quality care makes a difference in the safety and healthy development of children. It is great news that the Board firmly supports quality child care throughout the county.”
Reverting to state standards would have meant that many children could have been in child care programs where providers had no background check, no training, and no inspections. Child care centers in Arlington County require more training and education for staff and lower adult:child ratios, which studies show lead to more effective communication between caregivers and children and better supervision.
“The Arlington Board has taken a strong stand for children,” said Fraga. “Families need quality child care. Parents have enough to juggle between family and work without also worrying about the safety of their children in child care. The Arlington Board has heard the community loud and clear.”
Child Care Aware® of America is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at www.usa.childcareaware.org.