Connecticut will step up its oversight of child care centers and family daycare homes by requiring annual health and safety inspections – joining 41 other states that inspect such facilities at least once a year. Lawmakers approved a proposal by the Malloy administration to double the number of inspectors for child care facilities and increase the frequency of inspections – now once every two years for centers, and once every three years for family homes. The state’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC) will hire and oversee 28 new inspectors, who will join 25 inspectors and 15 other licensing staff already employed by the Department of Public Health. “This is an incredible move for the state of Connecticut . .
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.