(Dec 15, 2014) Joining me on Inside Scoop Virginia were Mary Braxton of Prince William County and Kandy Hilliard of Stafford County. Our discussion is about the lack of regulation in daycare homes, where many of Virginia’s 394,000 children are cared for each day.
Mary Braxton is a home based daycare provider in Prince William County and also the President of The Virginia Alliance of Family Child Care Associations and President of The Eastern Prince William Area Family Child Care Associations. She has worked for decades in advocating for children and families to have access to safe quality care using the best developmental practices.
Kandy Hilliard is the Assistant Director of the Child Care Network and Outreach Specialist for Childcare Aware of Northern Virginia. Kandy is also a former member of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors and she has spent 25 years of her career in early childhood education.
Fairfax and Arlington Counties, along with Alexandria city (all in Northern Virginia) have greater regulation of licensed daycare homes than the other 93 counties and 39 independent cities in Virginia. There are greater licensing requirements for dog groomers and nail technicians in those counties than there are for people who keep 5 or fewer unrelated children in their home daycare business. Sharon Veatch, Executive Director of Child Care Aware Virginia, wrote an op-ed to that affect to the Richmond Times Dispatch on October 28, 2014.
The Virginia General Assembly needs to address this lack of basic oversight to make it consistent across the entire commonwealth. Some of those recommendations include criminal background checks for every adult in the home, an inspection by the fire marshall to insure there is a fire evacuation plan in place. In September of 2014, 3 children died in day care fires in both Lynchburg and Midlothian in unlicensed homes. The brings the total to 43 children who have died in daycare in the last 10 years.
For 2015, Child Care Aware of Virginia recommends:
- Reducing the licensing threshold for child care homes;
- Training for providers to promote the safety and healthy development of children, and
- Reviewing the state licensing fee to determine whether it is set at an appropriate level to promote accountability in state oversight.
This show explores the many ways in which we can elevate the profession of daycare providers and insure greater safety for Virginia’s children.