HHS Announces Actions to Improve Safety and Quality of Child Care

On May 20, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed new regulations to strengthen standards to better promote the health, safety, and school readiness of children in federally funded child care. The public comment period for the proposed rule closed on August 23, 2013 and HHS is now reviewing comments and developing a final rule.

The proposed rule would apply directly to child care providers who accept Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) funds. More than 500,000 providers serve about 1.6 million low-income children through CCDF. Many more children would benefit, however, because most of the providers also serve non-CCDF children.

Under the proposed rule, states would require that all CCDF-funded child care providers:

  • Receive health and safety trainings in specific areas;
  • Comply with applicable state and local fire, health and building codes;
  • Receive comprehensive background checks (including fingerprinting); and
  • Receive on-site monitoring.

The rule would also require states to share information with parents through user-friendly websites about provider health, safety and licensing information. While some states already post health and safety reports online, the new rule would bring all states up to this standard.

HHS is excited to share these changes, which will better support providers, parents, and states as they work together to make sure that children are safe, healthy, and prepared to succeed. Supplemental materials can be found below, but for the best information we strongly encourage you to read the entire Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

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