Licensing Principles for Emergency Child Care

Based upon conversations that have been occurring at the national level I wanted to share the following principles that I think apply to licensing of emergency child care:
1)  We need to rethink the philosophy of “Do No Harm” and replace it with “Unavoidable  Risks”.  Emergency child care is in the eye of a perfect storm of risk and the best we will be able to do is reduce, but we will not be able to prevent the spread of this virus.
2)  Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children, the key standards from the larger set of CFOC standards that place children at greatest risk of mortality and morbidity need to be the reference point for licensing administrators as they think about regulating this new temporary service of emergency child care.
3)  The most stringent adult-child ratios are critical in reducing the spread of the virus, following CFOC Standard 3.6.2 (Child Care for Ill Children) for ratios is recommended with the exception of babies under one year where a 1:1 ratio is recommended.
4)  Adult-child ratio needs to be the new group size standard/rule in emergency child care.  In other words, if the ratio is 3:1, the group size is 3 children, not 6 children.  We need a new metric that measures contact hours.
5)  Regulation of square footage, which generally averages 35 square feet in family child care homes and child care centers, needs to be increased to 144 square feet in any setting (home, center, school, YMCA/YWCA, preschool, etc..) in order to abide by the distancing requirement of 6 feet.

About Dr Fiene

Dr. Rick Fiene has spent his professional career in improving the quality of child care in various states, nationally, and internationally. He has done extensive research and publishing on the key components in improving child care quality through an early childhood program quality indicator model of training, technical assistance, quality rating & improvement systems, professional development, mentoring, licensing, risk assessment, differential program monitoring, and accreditation. Dr. Fiene is a retired professor of human development & psychology (Penn State University) where he was department head and director of the Capital Area Early Childhood Research and Training Institute.
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