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Frequently Asked Questions for Center Based Child-Care

What type of individual storage space must I have for school-age children?

§746.4505 requires individual adequate storage space for each child’s personal belongings. This may be separate hooks, shelves, lockers, or cubicles. Other ideas for storage space include laundry baskets, buckets, carpet squares or placemats on a floor or table. Individual storage space encourages children to organize and be responsible for their personal possessions and offers children a sense of belonging when they can recognize the space as their own. Providing separate space for personal belongings also reduces the spread of lice, scabies and ringworm, which are the most common diseases spread in child care settings.

Will backpacks comply with this requirement for storage space?

Individual backpacks laid out in a way that children can easily identify their own belongings, may comply; however, you should also consider where these children would store a coat, art project, or sports equipment that does not fit into a backpack. Adequate storage would include individual space to accommodate all of a child’s personal belongings.

If I use a baby monitor that allows me to hear the children when I am out of the room, will this comply with the minimum standard for supervision?

Auditory awareness is only one component of the standard §746.1205, requiring supervision at all times. You must consider the ages of the children, their individual differences and abilities, the layout of the building and other hazards or risks. You must also have physical proximity to the children in your care and must intervene when necessary to ensure children’s safety. The use of the baby monitor would depend on each of these variables.

Does a “listed” phone number have to be in the local phone book or only listed in the enrollment agreement I provide to parents?

For purposes of this minimum standard, §746.4507, a listed telephone number is referring to a telephone number that may be obtained from directory assistance by a parent or other person wishing to contact the child-care center.

I want to operate a licensed child-care center in my home. Will this be possible after September 1, 2003?

After September 1, 2003, operations licensed as a child-care center must provide care at a location other than the caregiver’s own home. To be considered as operating in a location other than the caregiver’s own home, the location where care is being provided must be at a different address from the permit holder’s residence. (§746.107)

I purchase a curriculum for use with children in my care that includes activities for each day, a monthly calendar, and classroom tools and activities for teaching basic concepts to children. The supplier says my caregivers can earn annual training hours for using this curriculum; is this acceptable to DFPS?

Using a purchased curriculum designed for use with children would not be acceptable training for caregivers unless the training materials also include self-instructional materials designed for the adult caregiver.

In order for training to be counted toward annual training requirements, you must ensure the training meets criteria specified in §746.1325 including specifically stated learning objectives for adults, a curriculum designed for adult use which includes experiential or applied activities, an assessment tool, review, test or other activity that is used to determine whether the person has obtained the information necessary to meet the stated objectives and a certificate of successful completion from the training source as specified in §746.1329. If this program meets these criteria, then it may be counted toward annual training requirements up to 7.5 of the 15 annual hours as specified in §746.1327.

Why are there two different “recipes” for a self-made disinfecting solution?

The disinfection process uses chemicals (or hot water) that are stronger than soap and water, to kill germs and therefore prevent the spread of disease. Disinfection usually requires soaking or drenching the item for several minutes to give the chemical time to kill the remaining germs. §746.3411 (1)(A) lists a weaker self-made disinfecting solution (One tablespoon of regular strength liquid household bleach to each gallon of water) to be used on those items which children routinely place in their mouth. The weaker solution is adequate to kill most infectious germs if the proper steps are followed; however, the residue is nontoxic to children.

Toxic cleaners should not be used on surfaces likely to be mouthed by children. §746.4311(1)(B) lists a stronger self-made disinfecting solution (One quarter cup of bleach to one gallon of water) for disinfecting surfaces, which children do not routinely mouth, but nevertheless carry a significant number of germs such as changing tables, door knobs, floors, bathrooms, low shelving and other surfaces touched by children wearing diapers. After soaking for 10 minutes with this stronger self-made or a commercial disinfecting solution, if the surface is likely to be mouthed by children, it should be thoroughly wiped with a fresh towel moistened with tap water.

Can I count pre-service training as annual clock hours for my caregivers if taken for a refresher course?

In §746.1301, the 15 clock hours of annual training are exclusive of the pre-service training requirements. Pre-service training is meant to provide a caregiver with a basic understanding of children and how to work with them, before being given responsibility for a group. In most cases, a caregiver who has been in the classroom will not benefit from this basic level of training. Annual training hours build on this basic foundation and provide an opportunity for a caregiver to learn new techniques or develop specific skills. Training topics are similar for both pre-service training and annual training requirements; therefore, some topics may be repeated during annual training if you determine the caregiver needs additional training in these areas.

Our child-care center is located in the church building and the church secretary answers the telephone for us. Do we need to have a separate listed number for the child-care center?

If the child-care center shares a telephone with the church or school and does not have its own listed telephone number, child-care center employees must have access to a telephone located in the same building for use in an emergency and where a person is available to receive incoming calls, transmit messages immediately, and make outgoing calls. Generally, parents will know the name of the church or school their children are attending and generally, there is a listed telephone number for this location. If a cellular phone is being used as the child-care center telephone, the phone number should be listed with directory assistance so parents and others may reach the child-care center.

Is there a change in the child/caregiver ratios for day care centers?

The numbers of children that may be supervised by one classroom caregiver in a day care center will not change September 1, 2003. The current minimum standards provide a range for numbers of children in a group; however, this range has often been applied incorrectly and therefore was removed during the rule revision process to simplify the child/staff ratio chart. Determining group size and child/caregiver ratio by the specified age group depends upon the ages and numbers of children in each group at any given time. These numbers can fluctuate daily in centers where children attend sporadically or children are regrouped to accommodate staffing needs. A new rule (§746.1507), which addresses how to determine the specified age group, will increase consistency in enforcement and increase understanding for providers, parents, and others.

How can I release training records to my employees who no longer work for me and also keep these records in my files for three months after the employee leaves?

§746.907 (a) requires you keep all records for at least three months after an employee’s last day on the job, with the exception of annual training records. Training records for the last full training year and current year are to be maintained on current directors and caregivers. Persons no longer employed at the center are not considered current employees. This allows an employer to release original training certificates to an exiting employee, if they choose to. Caregivers moving to a new position in child-care may be able to use these certificates according to §746.1323 and §746.1039.

As a child-care center director, why can’t I obtain credit toward my annual training hours by training others?

§746.1311(g) states training hours may not be earned for presenting training to others. Training others does not satisfy the purpose of obtaining training annually, which is to learn the newest techniques for dealing with children, learn the latest findings in what children need and how they develop, and to refresh and energize caregiver skills.

Training that you attend to learn new information (which you may share with others at a later date) is acceptable annual training, if it complies with §746.1311 and §746.1317.

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