Child Care Licensing Oversight Lacks Consistency, Report Finds

A consultants’ review of Connecticut’s child care licensing system recommends that the state boost training for providers and eliminate inconsistencies in the way inspectors interpret and apply regulations. The report by the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA), a professional organization with expertise in human-service regulation, found that “inter-rater reliability” in Connecticut’s child care licensing program was very low, meaning that inspectors do not interpret or apply regulations the same way. It also found significant lapses in training for child care providers. “Many providers, especially those who operate family homes, are forced to choose between training and profitable operation,” says the report, commissioned by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC), in conjunction with the Department of Public Health (DPH). The review, released this week, recommends that the state develop a policy and procedure manual that specifies how inspections will be conducted and regulations applied; train DPH staff in inspection standards; and offer “targeted, low-cost training” for providers.