Instrument Based Program Monitoring

This is an article written back in 1985 that really tied licensing measurement together into a quantitative approach of instrument based program monitoring rather than case anecdotal records and proposed the use of key indicators/predictor rules, risk assessment/weighting of rules, and the introduction of differential monitoring which back then was called abbreviated inspections or inferential inspections.

The article appeared in Child Care Quarterly and really did begin to usher in a paradigm shift in licensing measurement and with the introduction of the Theory of Regulatory Compliance the movement from issuing full licenses with 100% regulatory compliance to substantial compliance with all regulations. This article also introduced the Early Childhood Program Quality Improvement and Indicator Model as a means for typing regulatory compliance together with quality initiatives, especially technical assistance, training, and professional development which will be addressed in future posts.

I am hoping to do this with several articles that I think are very pertinent to licensing measurement and post summaries of their particular significance for regulatory science and program monitoring. The hope would be that this new series will help to inform future licensing researchers and regulatory scientists regarding the nuances and idiosyncrasies of licensing measurement and regulatory compliance. As one will see, there are many measurement issues with licensing data and how best to analyze licensing data. This new series really started with the post before this one in which Federal, national, and state reports were listed and presented related to licensing and differential monitoring. The subsequent posts will provide a bit more detail of many topics presented in these various reports. These posts will also provide a backdrop to the National Association for Regulatory Administration’s Licensing Measurement course which is part of their Licensing Curriculum.

As one will see, there is a need within regulatory science to get at the key measurement issues and essence of what is meant by regulatory compliance. There are some general principles that need to be dealt with such as the differences between individual rules and rules in the aggregate. Rules in the aggregate are not equal to the sum of all rules because all rules are not created nor administered equally. And lastly, all rules are to be adhered to, but there are certain rules that are more important than others and need to be adhered to all the time. Less important rules can be in substantial compliance most of the time but important rules must be in full compliance all of the time.

Rules are everywhere. They are part of the human services landscape, economics, banking, sports, religion, etc… Where ever one looks we are governed by rules in one form or another. The key is determining an effective and efficient modality for negotiating the path of least resistance in complying with a given set of rules. It is never about more or less rules, it is about which ones are really productive and which are not. Too many rules stifle creativity, but too few rules lead to chaos. Determining the balance of rules is the goal and solution.

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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