Agency Plans Update to Child Care Safety Rules

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed regulations aiming to strengthen health and safety requirements for child care providers.
     The department has published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend its Child Care and Development Fund regulations.
     That program is the main source for providing low-income families with child care, and “has the twin goals of promoting families’ economic self-sufficiency by making child care more affordable, and fostering health child development and school success,” the department wrote.
     The program provides child care for 1.6 million children, half of whom are living at or below poverty level.
     “National surveys have demonstrated that most parents logically assume their child care providers have had a background check, had training in child health and safety, and are regularly monitored,” the department wrote in its notice.
     “However, state policies surrounding the training and oversight of child care providers vary widely and may not include these requirements.”
     The department noted that some children are cared for in unregulated centers with little oversight into requirements like first-aid and safe sleep practices.
     “There have been many documented instances of children being injured or even dying in child care, some of which were due to a lack of basic requirements for child care providers,” the department wrote.
     Among the changes, the department proposed a set of provisions designed to create greater transparency to parents, including “clear, easy-to-understand information about the quality of child care providers in their communities.”
     The department also proposed changes that would reduce unnecessary administrative burdens on families and improve coordination with other programs that help low-income families, such as employment programs.
     The proposed rule would also require states with high rates of improper payments to the Child Care and Development Fund to develop a plan to reduce those rates.
     Interested parties can submit comments on the proposed rule before Aug. 5.

%d bloggers like this: