Why Is Day Care Licensure Important?

Day care licensure is a means by which the government, on a city, county, state and national level, may regulate the standards of care provided by a facility by establishing set guidelines which must be adhered to. Licensure requirements vary from state to state, and may be obtained from an Office of Child Care Licensing. These requirements apply to all facilities caring for more than seven children for a period of time longer than three hours, and guidelines apply to all areas of child care.

While having completed licensure requirements does not guarantee that a facility is the right one for an individual child, it does guarantee that at the very least a child's minimum needs are being met. The guidelines established in the requirements for obtaining a license outline cover all aspects of child care. Directors and teachers are required to have completed a specified amount of secondary education in child development or education, giving them a deeper understanding of the child psyche and a better ability to troubleshoot when problems arise. Teacher's aides are required to be completing coursework in these same fields. All staff are required to have their fingerprints on file, and the director should keep a current, up-to-date file on each employee, complete with a background check.

A reasonable staff to child ratio is outlined, with specifics given for personal attention for infants and toddlers. Directions for feeding, napping, diaper changes and playtime are outlined, as well as for age appropriate equipment and supplies. All educators are required to be familiar with each child's file, and able to meet any special needs a child may possess, whether medical or otherwise. Guidelines are given for children in wheelchairs, or with other disabilities. A minimum level of care is outlined, with directions given for feeding, activities, and assistance.

Prior to licensure, a facility must be inspected and found to meet specified fire and safety requirements, and fire drills must be done once a month to ensure that all children and staff are familiar with procedures in the event of an emergency. A staff member trained in CPR and first aid should be present on the grounds any time children are present, and must accompany all groups on trips off the grounds.

Proper equipment, such as high chairs and cribs, must be provided for infants and conform to current safety standards. Procedures are given and must be followed for any cases of suspected neglect and abuse.

Licensed facilities are required to renew their license at the end of as set period of time, as well as submit to regular inspections. Failure to meet any licensure guidelines may result in a facility being fined and/or having its license revoked or suspended.

The consequences of poor care in daycare centers are widely documented. Children suffering from abuse at the hands of poorly trained staff members. An excessive number of students per staff member resulting in a lack of personal attention, which may lead to discipline problems and unreasonable demands for attention later in life, as well as a higher incidence of injury from children being poorly supervised. Licensure guidelines are intended to prevent these problems from arising, thereby ensuring that children in daycare facilities have a healthy, safe environment in which to grow and learn. A list of licensed day care facilities may be obtained from any social services department.


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