Our child care licensing & rules team, along with a long list of Stakeholders, have been working very hard over the last few months to put together a new list of criteria for operating a child care center.  This week, their hard work paid off- and we were able to post a draft of our Child Care Facilities Rulemaking.

The information that you see on the site is the final step in Phase 1 of the rulemaking.  Department will be accepting informal comments until April 27, 2010, after which the Department will review comments that have been submitted, make changes to the draft as necessary, and submit a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

We think that these new rules will be good for kids and public health- while at the same time streamlining the rules that child care center’s need to follow.  We’ve eliminated quite a few unnecessary and burdensome paperwork and administrative obligations for facilities- but at the same time, we’re asking them to incorporate simple but important activities into the kids’ day.

For example, “tummy time” is very important for infants because it helps them develop better gross motor skills, so we’re asking facilities to give kids some “tummy time” every day.  We’re also asking that they be put to sleep on their backs (which helps prevent SIDS), and to make sure that kids less than 2 don’t watch any TV, because watching TV as an infant is a risk factor for developing ADD later in life.  We’ve also included more nutritional criteria, like asking them to work on portion control at mealtime and serve 1% or skim milk for the older kids.  These are just a few examples, but you get the idea.

Basically, we tried to eliminate the unnecessary paperwork that consumes time, but added simple and effective physical activity and nutritional elements.  Thank you all for your help with these rules.  They’re going to make a difference.