The Denver Post published a report this week highlighting the importance of regular licensing visits for child care facilities and the need to invest in quality child care and safe settings for our youngest children. In the report, the Post reviewed the tragic cases of 24 children who have died since 2006 in child care. While the circumstances of these sad losses of life vary, the report indicates the state should take a stronger stance on child care regulations and the frequency of visits by licensing inspectors.
Colorado has had one of the worst licensing caseload ratios in the country, with inspectors visiting the average facility once every three years. This is why the Children’s Campaign was in strong support of last year’s budget request to increase licensing visits to at least once every 18 months. This is a good down payment on improving oversight in licensed settings. In addition, supporting child care providers and their efforts to provide the best care possible is a necessary step. Children’s Campaign’s Vice President of Early Childhood Initiatives Bill Jaeger was quoted in the report, emphasizing the importance of making investments to support our child care providers.
“We need to raise the bar,” Jaeger said. “We need to expect more in terms of the quality, health and safety at these places because we owe that to our youngest and most vulnerable, but on the other side, if we don’t provide more resources to meet new standards, we will be putting facilities in danger of going out of business, and there is a critical need for these facilities.”
Striking the right balance between expecting more and providing more support can help avoid these tragic circumstances in the future.