This article was published in 1980 in NARA News as a licensing measurement enhancement. It really grew out of the regulatory compliance need being addressed at the national level with the changes being made in the Federal Interagency Day Care Requirements (FIDCR). There was a concern by many Federal policy makers that the monitoring system was going to be too much of a burden on individual programs in attempting to measure regulatory compliance with the revised FIDCR standards. Interesting this same concern would lead to the development and implementation of the Key Indicator methodology, but more about that in future posts.
For this post, we will just center in on the concerns about how best to measure regulatory compliance with two key rules of the FIDCR: adult child ratios and group size. To measure regulatory compliance with these two rules it was necessary in the past to take painstaking measurements of the number of children and adults at various times during the day in child care programs.
The below article describes a mathematical model “Contact Hours” that can be used as an off-site proxy to determine regulatory compliance without ever stepping foot in a program. There are actually two articles presented here: 1) The original article published in 1980; 2) A 2021 paper based upon the use of the mathematical model in the state of Washington. In this second paper, the Contact Hours mathematical model was enhanced and expanded to deal with potential infection rates in child care programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. State administrators saw it as a solution to determining regulatory compliance without having to make onsite observations which were very restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21. The Contact Hours mathematical model worked very nicely in Washington state determining regulatory compliance but it also helped to target mitigation efforts in programs that were having infection outbreaks based upon particular threshold levels.