On Monday, 2/22 Arlnow.com reported that Arlington County has proposed an extensive list of new regulations for child care providers:
Daycare and preschool providers in Arlington are decrying proposed new child care regulations as overly onerous and intrusive.
A 34-page draft of new child care center regulations would set stringent requirements for employee education, require food handling certificates for handing out snacks and would require providers to encourage mothers to breast feed, among numerous other regulatory provisions.
Child care providers — particularly small, part-time operators — are speaking out against the the changes to Chapter 52 of County Code via the county’s online “open comment tool.”
Many comments focused on new education requirements for the teachers and assistant directors at child care centers. They would have to have a Bachelor’s Degree in education or a similar major and “at least 9 semester credits of advanced study in child development or early childhood education.” Current teachers would have three years to meet that requirement.
To list a few of the more egregious proposals:
“The licensee will ensure that mothers are encouraged to breast feed their infants.”
“Celebrations (birthdays, special occasions) should include mostly healthy foods or non-food treats.”
“Staff will promote dental hygiene among children at mealtimes.”
“The licensee will ensure that a trained staff member shall conduct and document a health check of each child every morning upon arrival.”
I’m not going to address how ridiculous these suggestions are – there’s nothing I can add that hasn’t already been mentioned in the comments of the Arlnow article. The comments section on Arlington County’s web site must have hit home as well – my wife sent me the article on Monday, and by Wednesday the link to the county’s web page has no document, much less any section for adding comments (if anyone has a link to a cached page with the study please drop it in the comments). According to an Arlington County spokesman, the page was supposed to be open for comments through March 31. He also gave a standard response about the need for updates and that this was only the start of the process. Fair enough, but unfortunately the county did not address one significant question:
Why was this proposal written by nobody with experience with young children? It’s obvious from reading just the few bullet points that I noted (and there is much more in the article) that whoever wrote the proposal has no idea what it’s like to actually drop off a child at day care, much less feed them. It’s equally obvious that at no time during the drafting process did they bother to seek out opinions from anyone with relevant experience (providers, parents, etc).
If the big-government nanny-staters want the public to buy into giving them greater control over our lives, maybe they should stop working so hard to prove their critics right.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog