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LARA Issues Changes to Child Care Licensing Rules

Girl in WheelchairRecently, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs finalized changes to the licensing rules for Family and Group Child Care Homes and the licensing rules for Child Care Centers. The purpose of these changes is to maintain compliance with the recent amendments to the Child Care Organization Act and the new requirements of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant.

The rule changes for Family and Group Child Care Homes took effect on December 13, 2019. The rule changes for Child Care Centers took effect on December 18, 2019.

Highlights of the rule changes that apply to both family and group child care homes and child care centers:

  • Licensed family and group child care homes and licensed child care centers will be required to utilize MiRegistry, an electronic data system maintained by the department of education, which will verify and track employment, training, and educational accomplishments and requirements.
  • The disciplinary requirements have been changed to prohibit timeout for children less than three years of age and using substances in a child’s mouth.
  • The requirements for emergency plans have been revised and expanded to include crisis management, such as active shooter drills.
  • Medications may only be given to a child by a child care staff member or licensee, and not by a volunteer or child care assistant.
  • Breastfeeding mothers must be supported and accommodated.
  • The smoking policies now include vaping. Smoking and vaping are prohibited in any child-use space, including vehicles.

Key rule changes specific to family and group child care homes include:

  • The initial training requirements for all applicants and licensees have been broadened to include CPR, First Aid, recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect, and prevention and control of infectious diseases, including immunizations. Within 90 days of licensure or employment, all child care staff members must have completed training on a wide range of other topics.
  • The requirements of a child care assistant are now more consistent with the requirements of child care staff members. Child care assistants are 14-17 years old. They must pass a comprehensive background check, be certified in CPR and first aid, and complete training in the prevention of infectious disease. Child care assistants must be directly supervised by the licensee or a child care staff member. The licensee is responsible for all actions of the child care assistant who has contact with or access to children in the family or group child care home.
  • The reporting requirements changes in household composition and criminal history of those living in child care homes have been reduced to three business days.
  • Electronic dated daily attendance records, if used, must be provided at the time of inspection.
  • Additional requirements for safe sleep measures, child transportation, and bottle warmers and cloth diapers have been included.
  • The source of water supply is more highly monitored.

Key rule changes specific to child care centers include:

  • Shock absorbing surfaces must surround any pieces of playground equipment that have an elevated playing or climbing surface, regardless of the height.
  • Documentation is required from a health care provider for children who have a health issue or special need requiring them to sleep in something other than a crib or porta-crib for infants or toddlers, or a cot or mat for toddlers.
  • Child care staff member to child ratios no longer include volunteers.
  • If a child care center contracts with or is operated by an intermediate school district, the school is responsible for the health and safety of the children during transportation. A child care center does not have to complete a comprehensive background check on the transportation staff.

More detailed information about the recent changes to the Child Care Organization Act can be found here.  Please contact one of our health care attorneys if you have questions about how these rules may affect you or your child care responsibilities.

Categories: Health Care Reform, Licensing

 has particular expertise in health law and she represents providers with emphasis in the areas of physicians, hospice, home care and long term care, including one of the country’s largest long-term care organizations. She has a vast array of experience in teaming with providers in the areas of regulatory compliance and contracts. 

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