Child Care Center Rules Approved After Five-Year Effort
Licensed child care centers in Colorado will follow new rules in 2016 after the Colorado State Board of Human Services revised guidelines last week. The overhaul comes after five years of work among providers, advocates, state and local agencies and policy makers to ensure children have access to safe and healthy child care environments.
The Children’s Campaign joined a diverse group of health advocates, including the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, Healthier Colorado, Oral Health Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Qualistar, The Colorado Health Foundation, LiveWell Colorado, the American Academy of Pediatrics – Colorado Chapter, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition and the American Heart Association, to support these changes.
New rules about screen time, healthy foods and sugary drinks in child care centers were championed by a broad group of health and early development advocates. This is a major victory for over 108,000 kids that receive care in more than 2,000 centers. Key policy changes include:
- Elevating expectations for positive behavioral strategies in child care centers that support children’s social-emotional health, including individualized supports to address challenging behaviors that too often lead to suspensions and expulsions and promoting access to mental health consultation. Centers will also need to take and document steps prior to suspending or expelling and ensure that annual staff professional development includes training in social emotional development of young children.
- Improved training requirements for child care center staff that include: safe sleep, shaken baby/head trauma training, standard precautions, and child abuse identification, prevention and reporting.
- Ensuring that child care professionals who collect, review, and maintain immunization records and child care health consultants annually complete the the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) immunization course.
- Alignment of immunization collection and admission requirements with policies updated in HB 14-1288, a bill the Children’s Campaign championed two years ago.
- The addition of a credentialing system for early childhood educators as an added, optional pathway to the classroom for qualified individuals.
- Improved safety expectations for child care staff handling and administering medication. Ensuring all meals and snacks meet basic expectations for healthy, balanced nutrition.
- The elimination of sugary drinks, like sodas and sugar-added beverages, from what child care providers offer to children.
- Required daily physical activity for children of all ages proportional to the amount of time they are in care.
- Elimination of television and video viewing during snack and meals for all children, elimination of screen time for children under 2, and age-appropriate limits on screen time for older children.
There are a host of other positive changes that will support provider requests to ease the burden of doing business that the Children’s Campaign supported as well. The rules will go into effect Feb. 1, 2016, and we look forward to tracking the implementation of these changes.