Questioning Child Care Plans

When it comes to child care it’s real easy to say, hey, whatever it costs we’ll do it, but when it comes down to it, childcare is no simple undertaking.  What assurances do we have that the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) intends to provide safe and quality child care?  Does the PLP intend to follow commonly accepted practices with regards to child care?

When asked about the cost of a scheme planned to introduce means-tested child care that would use existing facilities and churches Dr. Brown said:

“We do not have a figure but guess what? Whatever it costs we will do it.”

It’s great that cost is not an issue, but what assurances do we have of the plans quality and safety?  Will special needs children get consideration?  Will we be assured qualified child-care facilitators to ensure there is limited potential for abuse or neglect?  Will the facilities used be safe and adequate for caring for children?

The American National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) provides a helpful checklist of 38 questions that should be asked to ensure high quality health care.  Such as:

Will my child be supervised?

  • Are children watched at all times, including when they are sleeping?
  • Are the caregiver/teacher-to-child ratios appropriate and do they follow the recommended guidelines:
    • One caregiver per 3 or 4 infants
    • One caregiver per 3 or 4 young toddlers
    • One caregiver per 4 to 6 older toddlers
    • One caregiver per 6 to 9 preschoolers

 

Have the adults been trained to care for children?

  • If a center,
    • Does the director have a degree and some experience in caring for children?
    • Do the teachers have a credential or Associate‚Äôs degree and experience in caring for children?
  • Is there always someone present who has current CPR and first aid training?
  • Have the adults been trained on child abuse prevention and how to report suspected cases?

 

Is this a safe and healthy place for my child?

  • Are adults trained to give medicines and keep records of medications?
  • Is there a plan to follow if a child is injured, sick or lost?
  • Have all the adults who are left alone with children had background and criminal screenings?
  • Is the outdoor play area a safe place for children to play?
  • Is the number of children in each group limited to no more than
    • 6-8 infants
    • 6-12 younger toddlers
    • 8-12 older toddlers
    • 12-20 preschoolers
    • 20-24 school-agers

 

These questions are based on research about child care performed by the NACCRRA and likely should be questions asked of the PLP with regards to their proposed free daycare initiative.  We should be assured of safe and quality care for our children before we go to vote on December 18th.

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3 thoughts on “Questioning Child Care Plans

  1. Denis, lets not be ridiculous here.
    A platform promise is not enacted the day after the election. it was this government that introduced more strict childcare watching guidelines. To insinuate that they will be enacting free daycare to the possible detriment of the kids is disingenous at best. There is nothing to say that that these providers won’t have to be licenced, or trained.

  2. This knee jerk ill thought idea is such an insult to hard working parents on the island who have struggled for the last nine years to manage child care.
    Child care provision cannot be turned off an on like a tap; Bermuda is already very short of child care provision. Where are these Mary Poppins going to come from? Is Min Burgess going to get out his rubber stamp and whistle for a hundred Filipinos? An ill thought out an unbudgeted programme like this just stokes the inflationary pyre that is Bermuda.
    And how about my neighbours – they pay the same taxes as me, have the lawful right to work here and earn the same but this is Bermuda for the Bermooodans and we don’t like strangers….

  3. Ken,
    The question arises however where they will get the resources to fuel such an initiative if costs are yet unknown?
    The caregiver to child ratios noted above suggest that should there be significant demand for such a program, the required staffing resources could be very significant.
    How do we ensure that we can acquire enough adequately trained individuals to manage and run such a program when child care resources are already heavily stretched on island. How likely is it that we’ll have to bring in a raft of foreign individuals to run these programs and how much will that cost.
    If cost becomes a considerable factor and the availability of caregivers becomes as much of an issue as nurses, will we see the PLP opting between lower quality, higher costs or a broken promise as solutions?

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