Licensed Family Child Care Providers are business owners, professionals in the field of Early Care and Education and experts in the care and education of very young children. Recent news stories might have the public thinking otherwise but a few bad apples shouldn’t spoil the bunch. Of all the thousands of licensed child care programs open in Oregon only a handful have run afoul of the law. The majority of Licensed Family Child Care programs are truly wonderful places where children learn, live and grow. The parents using these Licensed Family Child Care Programs know this to be true and have great appreciation and respect for the work their Licensed Family Child Care Program does every day.
The State of Oregon has already acknowledged the professionalism in the field thru Oregon AFSCME Local 132 Child Care Providers Together’s “Bill of Rights” which states,
“All family child care providers have: (1.) The right to be treated
as a professional with courtesy, dignity, consideration and respect.”
Additionally, the “Preamble” of our collective bargaining agreement states,
“The Parties share a mutual understanding that child care providers are professionals who are essential to the development, education, and well-being of children. In all dealings with Union and providers, Agencies shall:
• Start from an assumption that providers are well intentioned and doing the best they can with the information they have.
• Maintain a positive attitude in dealing with providers.
• Take time to listen to and understand providers’ needs.
• Offer support, assistance, and encouragement.
• Use authority within legal parameters, carefully and with thought.
• Promote statewide consistency that is flexible enough to meet individual situations without compromising the rules.”
The State of Oregon Early Learning Division has put forward proposed rules for adoption which do not follow through on the promises made to providers in the collective bargaining agreement for all licensed family child care providers and their programs. We recognize the changes that have already been made and we applaud those changes; however, there are still a couple of significant rule changes that are not good for providers, not good for programs and not good for infants and their parents. These couple of rules take away a licensed family child care provider’s right to make choices for the infants in their care based upon sound judgement as a professional, Developmentally Appropriate Practice ( ®NAEYC), cultural responsiveness to the family and what is best for individual infants’ mental health and physical well-being.
- 414-350-0180(5) & 414-250-0150(5) Restrictive infant equipment (e.g. bouncers, swings, infant seats, high chairs) shall only be used for no more than 20 minutes in any 2 hour period.
- 414-350-0240 (f) & 414-250-0195 (f) If an infant falls asleep in a place other than their crib, portable crib, bassinet or playpen, the provider must immediately move the infant to an appropriate sleep surface; and
- (i)Swaddling or other clothing or covering that restricts the child's movement is prohibited;
At this point, we have proposed alternative language. We have submitted research, well-educated and experienced public comment, testimonials and have given information that should have given ELD and ELC more than pause.
These rules do not address the real world, practical side of infant care. The Early Learning Division already has rules that it can cite abuses under.
- 414-350-0130 (6) (b) &414-250-0115 (6) (b) Using or threatening to use inappropriate forms of restraints, including, but not limited to, tying or binding;
Swaddling and placing infants (especially those under 6 months) in “restrictive infant equipment” (as termed by the Early Learning Division) is not the same as the rule cited above. These devices are developmentally appropriate, are linked to infant care as part of a total care package when used in conjunction with regular physical contact and tummy time on the floor and are designed specifically for infant comfort and soothing (critical for mentally healthy infants). Restrictive devices like strollers allow infants to accompany the rest of the program to the park or other field trip. Restrictive devices like Moby Wraps, New Native Carrier and other devices provide baby wearing – what we know to be an important part of bonding and good for baby. The point is, providers as business owners and early care educators need to make these choices for individuals – an idea that is at the very heart of Developmentally Appropriate Practice.
We ask that Early Learning Division and the Early Learning Council remove this language for further consideration and later (possible) adoption, if they feel in is necessary after having met with the licensed family child care community and having drafted (better) replacement language that makes sense in the real world, that fully supports and ensures infant safety and that is more than words on paper that force providers to choose between non-compliance and what is best for [a] baby.
Additionally, multiple Licensed Family Child Care Providers have come forward concerning the impact that the following rule will have significant and devastating effects on their Certified Family Program:
- 414-350-0145(11) The outdoor activity area of the home designated for use by child care children shall be enclosed by a barrier (fence, wall, or building) at least 4 feet high. There shall be no more than 3 1/2 inches of open spacing in fences. Fences must meet applicable local codes.
Several Certified Family Child Care providers have come forward expressing serious concerns about their current fence meeting current rules (4 inches). A handful of programs that we are aware of have replaced their fencing within the last couple of years, some don’t have that fence paid off yet. Some providers are currently in the process of replacing their fence, having already purchased materials. Fences are a significant expense. They are very expensive. We ask that those fences be grandfathered in using language that addresses “fencing put into place prior to September 30, 2018,” or “fencing put into place after September 30, 2018.”