Steps DHS Takes To Regulate Day Care Centers
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Pulaski County daycare was found with more than two dozen code violations within the last year.
Violations against Love N Care daycare in College Station range from bottles not labeled with children’s names and refrigerated, to employee background checks not up to date.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) says it has about 40 licensing investigators that go to different daycare centers across the state, making sure each one is within state code.
Daycares like Our House’s Little Learners program is a level-one facility under DHS’ better beginnings rating. That means it meets minimum DHS requirements and more.
“We want our kids to be safe and well taken care of and have a really high-quality standard,” Our House children’s program director Maureen Martin said.
Martin says since it’s been open, it has never faced any regulation violations.
“It’s a common conversation around here, ‘are we in ratio and does this pass licensing?'” Martin said.
Amy Webb with DHS says licensing investigators visit around 1,900 daycare centers and 400 home centers without warning multiple times each year.
She says If they spot a problem, it gets written up.
“We go in and we demand that it be corrected on the spot, or it may be a broader issue,” Webb said.
If it’s broader issues, they must come up with a plan of action to get it changed. She says most centers are willing to get back in compliance, but if one place gets too bad, it must be closed down.
“If we feel like it’s a matter of safety for kids we’ll shut the place down,” Webb said.
Centers, like Our House, are working to meet proper regulations, but not just for DHS.
“It’s not because we’re afraid they are going to drop in and catch us, that’s not why. It’s because we value this high-quality center,” Martin said.
Every regulation violation that DHS writes up is put online. Those interested can search it at http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/.
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