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’s 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.