Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Kansas, Lexie’s Law raised standards for Kansas child care, officials say | Shaken Baby Syndrome

*Excerpt taken from article posted here*

Two years after the passage of Lexie’s Law — landmark legislation that tightened the regulation of Kansas child care facilities — officials say the quality and availability of child care have increased.
More importantly, they said, Kansas has turned around its once-dismal reputation and now serves as a model for other states when it comes to oversight of small family child care homes.
Five years ago, Kansas ranked 46th in the country for policies that govern child care centers. This year the state catapulted to third place in a report by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, which repeatedly cited Lexie’s Law as among the most significant changes to promote children’s health and safety.
“It’s been a team effort and it’s been a process, but honestly there hasn’t been a lot of pushback,” said Rachel Berroth, director of child care licensing for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
“Everyone knew we needed more training to better prepare our providers to protect and care for our children.”
Lexie’s Law was named for 13-month-old Lexie Engelman, who suffered fatal injuries at a Johnson County day care in 2004. Signed into law in 2010, it marked the first major change to the state’s child care standards in more than three decades.
In addition to mandating inspections of day care facilities and training for providers, the measure established a host of requirements for supervising children, including monitoring, diapering and toilet practices, safe-sleep practices and playground oversight.
It also established an online database of child care providers with information about complaints that parents can access.
Lexie’s Law did away with an entire category of day care providers – “registered” day cares, which could care for up to six children but were inspected only in response to complaints. As of February, all providers must be licensed and are inspected regularly.
The change prompted some registered providers to leave the business, Berroth said. Others opted to pursue licensure, a step that allows them to care for up to 10 children instead of six.

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