Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New family home child care rules will improve safety, outcomes for children

On November 14, DEL filed revised rules for family home child care providers. The revisions focus on health, safety and positive outcomes for children.

What are rules for family home child care providers?
DEL is responsible for providing rules for all licensed child care providers to follow, which are found in Washington Administrative Code (WAC). Child care centers and family home child care providers are subject to different rules. The family home child care rules have not changed significantly since 2004; the changes we filed yesterday are the first major update to the rules since licensing oversight became DEL's responsibility. The new rules will take effect in March 2012.

What does this mean for parents and children?
  • Providers are required to communicate more information about the their child care philosophy and about each child's development.
  • Enhanced safety standards for playgrounds, food service, cribs, emergency preparedness, screen time, and nurture and guidance.
What does this mean for family home child care providers?
  • A streamlined background check process, through nonexpiring licenses and portable background checks.
  • All children ages 13 to 16 who live in the home are subject to noncriminal background checks, as are volunteers or assistants ages 14 to 16 who work in the family child care home.
  • Providers and their staff will be required to meet increased education and training standards. The new rules require, at a minimum, a high school education or equivalent. Current licensed providers have until March 31, 2017 to meet the minimum education requirement.
  • DEL licensors will work with providers in the coming months to make sure they understand the new rules.
How did DEL decide on the rule changes?
DEL formed a group called the negotiated rule-making team that was tasked with developing the rule changes. The team was made up DEL staff, family home child care providers, the family home providers union, and other early learning professionals. Starting in 2007, the team collaboarated with providers, legislators, parents and early learning professionals to develop research-based draft rules. DEL presented the draft rules at eight public meetings around the state on evenings and weekends in Spring 2011. As required by state law, DEL also shared the draft rules with Service Employees International Union 925, the union that represents family home child care providers.

Read the final rules.

Watch DEL Director Bette Hyde discuss new rules: goo.gl/7OayM

More information about the rules is available on our website: www.del.wa.gov/laws/development/negotiated.aspx