New regulations address safety in child care
Washington, D.C. – Child Care Aware® of America attended today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposing new health and safety guidelines for child care settings.
“This is an important step for children, and we’re pleased to see many of our longstanding recommendations in today’s announcement, such as CPR certification, safe sleep, and background checks based on fingerprints,” said Lynette M. Fraga Ph.D., Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “Millions of working parents depend on child care and assume certain safety measures are already in place for their children, however state policies vary widely. Parents need to know their children are safe and in a setting that promotes their healthy development.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the event, “Many children already benefit from the excellent care of high quality child care providers who are meeting or exceeding the proposed requirements. 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 an avoidable tragedy.”
Child Care Aware® of America parent advocate Elly Lafkin, whose 13-week-old daughter died while in child care, also spoke at the event, which was held at Centro Nia, a bilingual, multicultural early learning center in the nation’s capital. “To me, anyone in the business of caring for someone else’s child ought to have a comprehensive background check,” said Lafkin.
Each week, nearly 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care setting for an average of 35 hours. It is important that during these hours, children are in a safe environment that promotes their growth and development. The regulations posted today are open for public comment for the next few months. Once comments are reviewed, HHS will issue final regulations.
Child Care Aware® of America has issued seven licensing studies that show state laws regarding child care settings vary greatly. The most recent report, We Can Do Better: 2013 Update, scored and ranked the states on their state child care center program requirements and oversight policies. The average score was 92 out of a total possible score of 150 – for a grade of 61 percent.
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 improve 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.