The new child care center standards went into effect last week.  Check out our newly revamped child care licensing website, which has the latest for parents, consumers, childcare operators and others.  Our Licensing, rules, and all the other ADHS experts who contributed to the new rules and did a fantastic job.  Our success was directly tied to the open and inclusive process that brought to the table the expertise of our internal staff, our partners and the public.  These changes will go far to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our kids.  Our childcare licensing folks have been busy providing training events throughout the state so that providers are up to speed on all the changes by October 1st.  Operators can also find our new licensing checklist on the new website.

Several of the new changes will support and reinforce our Empower Pack guidelines.  The new rules for childcare centers will reinforce: 1) “tummy time” each day for infants; 2) lessons plans each week that include opportunities for each child to participate in structured large muscle physical activity; 3) policies and procedures for limiting TV watching & computer use; 4) limits on the amount of screen time including documenting the screen time in minutes when it is included in the lesson plan; and 5) serving 1% or skim milk for older kids; and 6) limiting fruit juice to 100% juice (120 ml/day for children younger than 6 and 180 ml/day for older kids).

After the first of the year, the Empower program will be celebrating its first anniversary and we’ll be  putting together the 1st performance evaluation report.  Right after that, we’ll take another look at the guidelines and have some discussions around the need to update them based on the evaluation results, partner input and the rules changes.

Again, thank you for all your effort this year.  Not only have we have had a wonderful time working more closely with each other, the children of Arizona are getting a healthy start in life thanks to our work.  You make a difference every day.