Monday, March 21, 2011

An expert's take on the new Child Care Regulations bill: Pros & Cons

Over the past few weeks there have been several comments and articles discussing the pros and cons of the Child Care Regulations being proposed in Senate Bill 56/ House Bill 1226. The strongest and loudest comments we’ve heard are focused on the separation of Church and State.

Senate Bill 56/House Bill 1226 standardizes basic health and safety requirements for all child care providers. Examples include ensuring all caregivers are at least eighteen (18) years old. It makes certain that all staff is trained in Universal Precautions and First Aid, with at least one CPR trained person on site. It also requires facilities have fire detection equipment.

At some point, individuals and groups should turn the focus back to the most important piece of the legislation, the safety of our children. The bill, as it is currently written, proposes changes to ensure safety for our youngest citizens, the ones who can not speak for themselves, and are taken care of in child care facilities daily. They need our support to make certain they are cared for in a safe and loving environment. I think this fact of the bill has been lost.

As part of my role of Early Childhood Coordinator for the Indiana PIRC, I have been blessed to work with several Child Care Ministries around Indiana. These programs have taken many steps to make sure children in their care are safe and well cared for every day. They have already taken many, if not most, of the steps outlined in the proposed bill. This is supported by the fact that we are not hearing from the Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministries in opposition of the bill.

Take a moment to look at the proposed changes in SB56/HB1226 using this grid of the health and safety requirements. As a parent of three teenage boys, I honestly was surprised by the items that I thought would have already been in place at all child care centers. As parents, we look for a center were our child is happy, safe and well cared for while we are at work. We would not think to ask if everyone in the center is over 18 and not using illegal substances.

Remember parents, legislation can only go so far. We must be the front line advocates for our precious boys and girls.

For more information about Indiana Senate Bill 56/ House Bill 1226/ Child Care Regulations,  Download this PDF.

The Indiana Partnerships Center encourages and enables parents to engage with their child’s school, to the mutual benefit of the child and the school.  The center, which serves all of Indiana, is one of 62 Parental Information Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.


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