Child Care Licensing
GCCA has been working on a DECAL task force to define enforcement processes and philosophies which will result in the creation of a violation enforcement chart that would take away the subjectivity for fines and enforcement actions by the department. Additionally the group has voted to change how current transportation trigger rules are treated more severely than other violations. The new chart will look at a center’s history of violations for that specific rule and the class of harm, from low to extreme imminent danger when accessing penalties. Centers will essentially get credit for past clean history. DECAL will begin modifying their approach to transportation citations by October.
ASTM- Playground standards: GCCA has been working with DECAL on a case that has come to light over the spring/summer to ensure that DECAL REVERSED a decision to make playgrounds compliant to the now- current ASTM standards, requiring playgrounds to close or retrofit. ASTM is a voluntary standard for manufacturing, with any true defect that would endanger children resulting in a product recall. DECAL’s initial citation and decision to close an $8000 playground would have set a very costly precedent for the state. The GCCA worked with ASTM, playground manufacturers and DECAL to ensure that the department understood the complexity of these “ voluntary” standards and that retrofitting of current playgrounds was not required under ASTM guidelines.
“Watchful Oversight”- The GCCA will be working with DECAL on defining this term more closely as well as supervision.
Exempt Programs: GCCA has continued to ask DECAL to limit exemptions to licensing. DECAL has been visiting exempt summer camps and is in process of entering data. Exemption call project started a year ago in which they embarked upon calling approximately 5200 paper files and total 7600 programs to update their outdated database. They have now asked all programs to reapply under new 2012 exemption rules. This project is in the final stages and is the first time DECAL will have access and ability to communicate with all programs!
DECAL has had much transition of staff, including a restructure of a new commissioner, and direct reports. We have been told that Interim Commissioner Amy Jacobs is an “interim” commissioner, but that could potentially change. We will keep you posted. We are working on submitting our suggestions for a commissioner that would be provider friendly.