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Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers

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FOREWORD

Day Care is the most commonly used term to refer to the range of services available for children who are away from their own homes for a part of the day. Generally parents seek substitute care for reasons of employment, although a variety of situations prompt the need for day care. The primary characteristic of day care is the delegation by the parents of the responsibility for the care and protection of the child to the day care provider.

The need for protecting children receiving care outside their own homes was recognized by the Delaware General Assembly as early as 1915. Since 1950, Delaware has required child day care facilities to be licensed as authorized in the Delaware Code, Title 31, Subchapter II, Subsections 341 -344. The licensing law defines the type of facilities that are to be regulated by the State, and gives the authority to "prescribe reasonable standards" and "license such facilities" to the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. The purpose of the law is to protect the health, safety and well-being of the children who receive care in day care facilities. Licensing of these facilities is a preventive function which has as its purpose setting requirements which must be met in order for a facility to be able to operate.

In developing the current revision of Day Care Center Licensing Require- ments, the Department sought the advice and assistance of knowledgeable persons representative of the field of child day care. These new requirements, now under the title of "Delacare: Requirements for Day Care Centers", were primarily drawn from the Model Child Care Standards Act - Guidance to States to Prevent Child Abuse in Day Care Facilities, January 1985, the licensing requirements of other states and research in child development and health care related to day care.

The requirements are divided into five distinct parts. The first part contains requirements which must be met by all day care centers in order to be licensed. The remaining four parts contain separate requirements for facilities providing specialized services. Through this design, the Department has attempted to define specific requirements rather than broad standards so that compliance can be measured more accurately and consistently.

The Department sincerely appreciates the contribution and efforts of all the individuals involved in the development of Delacare: Requirements for Day Care Centers and asks for their continued support in working together to provide better care and services to children in day care centers.

The following individuals participated in the work group which developed Delcare: Requirements for Day Care Centers:

* Pauline D. Koch, Project Director

* Peggy Lewis, Assistant Project Director

* Marc Mercer, Consultant

* Christine Beh, Nursery-Kindergarten, Association of Delaware

* Nancy McConnell, Sheila Shotzberger, Educational Enrichment

* Norvella Brown, Division of Economic Services

* Emily Morris, Dover Educational and Community Center

* Saundra Brunson, Ph.D., Child Care Food Program, Department of Public Instruction

* Dorothy Oliver, Georgetown Day Care Center

* Florence Cooke, Loving Care Nursery School

* Betty Richardson, Seaford Head Start/Readiness Preschool

* Penny Deiner, Ph.D., College of Human Resources, University of Delaware

* Nancy Reihm, Preschool Diagnostic, Development Nursery, Division of Public Health

* Marie M. Dugan, Delaware Association of Independent Schools

* Rose Rigdon, Hodgson Vocational Technical School

* Jack C. Fisher, Handicapped Children's Services, Division of Public Health

* Jeanette Sauers, Licensing Specialist

* Mary Ann Hall, Cheryl Siok, Calvery Children's Center

* Barbara Sheppard, New Castle County Day Care, Directors Association

* Liza Hanford, United Way of Delaware

* Patricia Vitek, Mother's Day Out, Hockessin United, Methodist Church

* Barbara E. Humphreys, Ph.D, Exceptional Children/Special, Programs Division
* Department of Public Instruction

* Ann Wilson, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Division of Public Health

* Marion C. Hyson, Ph.D., College of Human Resources, University of Delaware

* Phyllis Wilson, Licensing Specialist

* Kathi A. Karsnitz, Attorney At Law, Parent Representative

* Yvonne Whitham, Love n - Learn


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