Childcare advocates in Texas are pushing for lower adult-child ratios and increased day care training.
Daycare centers are supposed to be havens of safety for both parents counting on them to take care of their loved ones, and for the children who attend them. They serve a vital function in society, providing children with a place to interact with other kids their age as well as a trusted place for busy parents wanting to leave their loved ones under the care of a watchful eye. Unfortunately, Texas has some pretty lax daycare standards when compared to the rest of the country.
Texas daycare abuse cases in the news.
Daycare centers all over North Texas have been in the news over the last couple of years due to numerous claims of children being mistreated by their caretakers. These claims range from children being sent home with urine-soaked clothing, to others being duct-taped to beds in order to control them during nap time. Thankfully, childcare advocates across the state are now seeking to address the low standards that Texas places on daycare centers.
Currently, the state of Texas requires only one daycare attendant for every eleven toddlers, which is the highest ratio in the nation. To the parents out there I ask, can one person really handle 11 toddlers at once?
Lobbyists propose legislative changes.
Lobbyists who fear that the state of daycare abuse could keep rising are proposing a number of changes, such as increasing the number of hours that it takes to be a licensed daycare worker, as well as increasing funding targeting these institutions. Here’s a fun fact: Texas residents need 1,500 hours of training in order to get a license to cut hair, but only 24 hours of instruction to work at a daycare facility.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services released a memo last year outlining the minimum standards day care centers across the state had to meet if they wanted to maintain their licensure. Here’s a look at some of the recommendations found in this document:
- Children are not to be swaddled (wrapped tightly in cloth) under any circumstances; this has been a common way of getting children to calm down and sleep. It’s now seen as a form of forced restraint that may be dangerous to the child.
- Vaccination of children should be done in accordance with the standards set as well as the current vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Outdoor loose-fill surface materials used in children’s playgrounds should be at a depth of 6inches until the end of 2015, after which a depth of 9 inches will be adopted.
Congress recently passed a bill meant to enforce new regulations covering the child care industry. This was done in response to the explosive growth in this industry, with president Obama setting aside more than $200 billion for the next decade–funds that would be used to touch on the increased availability, affordability and quality of childcare across the country. What remains to be seen is if there will be an uptake of these new policies by those that run these institutions in almost every community in America.