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Childcare Centers

Child care is regulated differently in every state, and sometimes even in different parts of the state. Licensed facilities are inspected on the average of once a year to be certain they continue to meet requirements.

Childcare Centers
The maximum numbers of children grouped according to ages and the minimum staff required vary slightly, but are approximately:

Maximum Child : Staff
Age Group     Size    Ratio
6 wks.–15 mos.   12   4:1
15 mos.–2 yrs.   15   5:1
2 yrs.–3 yrs.   16   8:1
3 yrs.–5 yrs.   20   10:1
5 yrs.–Kindergarten   20   20:1

Staff Requirements
All staff in this environment generally must have the skill and competence needed to contribute to children’s physical, intellectual, personal, emotional and social development. Each member of the staff must have a minimum of a certain number of hours of inservice training each year. All staff must have a current medical report with a T.B. test, be subjected to a criminal background check, a child abuse/neglect background check, and have letters of reference on file. A staff member trained in First Aid and CPR must be on location at all times. In this environment there are Lead Teachers, Directors, Child Development Associates, or assistants/aides on staff.

Physical Space
A child care center should typically have at least 35 square feet of indoor space per child and 75 feet of outdoor space per child. Required space per child for infants and toddlers who sleep in cribs is 55 square feet. Indoor and outdoor areas must be designed to protect the health and safety of children. Equipment and materials must be in a particular quantity and include child size tables and chairs and individual space for children’s belongings. The inspection and approval of the facility by the State Fire Marshall and Health Department is required.

Program
The child care center should have written policies, a statement of purpose and philosophy of the program, and provide these to parents. Cultural and ethnic diversity and personal privacy of children must be respected. A variety of activities (both indoor and outdoor) and a daily routine that promotes the child’s individual growth must be provided. Nutrition Nutritious meals and snacks must be served.

Discipline
Methods of disciplining children must be carried out in ways that help children develop self-control and assume responsibility for their own actions. Children may not be subjected to spankings, hitting or any other corporal punishment. Also, children may not be verbally abused, humiliated, deprived of meals or be punished for toilet accidents.

There are some child care situations that you should avoid:
--Unsafe environments
--A situation where there is not enough space for your child to play in
--High turnover of staff
--Not enough staff for the number of children attending
--Untrained, inexperienced staff


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