They're not kidding!

Haylee Marcuccio (Joni's Child Care) represented CCCA at the September 10, 2013 meeting to fine-tune the QRIS requirements.  As it currently stands, all licensed programs in CT will be required to be rated.   For those of that accept Care4Kids it will significantly affect the level of subsidy we will receive, however the trigger for this being applicable hasn't been determined  (amount or percentage of revenues).  Ratings will be public.  Here are the current requirements being recommended to achieve each of the four levels:
Level 1 - comply with DPH licensing requirements.
Level 2 - every classroom (preschool, toddler and infants) must have at least one teacher who is either Head Teacher Certified, has a CDA or 12 credits in ECE.  Program Director must have at least 6 ECE credits and 6 business credits.

Level 3 - every classroom must have at least one teacher with an Associates degree in ECE or an Associates degree in another field but meets "competency standards or has a State approved ECE endorsement".   This latter part has been completely undefined to date.   Director requirements are a CT Director Credential at the initial level.

Level 4 - NAEYC Accreditation PLUS every classroom must have at least one teacher who has their BA in ECE or a BA in another field but meets "competency standards or has a State approved ECE endorsement".  Director requirement are a CT Director credential at standard level or higher.

Is this even possible to accomplish?

Speaking personally, Jane Porterfield and I (Gerry Pastor) are the owners of Educational Playcare (EPC).  Our programs are NAEYC Accredited.   EPC is fortunate enough to be able to pay its teachers at the highest level of compensation for private funded programs.  We are also fortunate enough to be able to provide our staff with health and dental benefits, life insurance, an EAP and a matching 401k program.   We pay for our staff to take classes in ECE and pay for them to get their CDA.   We've dragged about as many as we've been able to get their CDA.   Why am I saying this ... because it’s going to be a stretch for us to get 2 stars! 

Moreover, we've reviewed the 831 applications we've received over the past year.  Of these, 47 had a CDA, 17 had an Associates degree in ECE (or related field), 39 had a BA in ECE (or a related field).  728 didn't have any of these qualifications.   This is despite the fact that our job postings advertise everything written in the paragraph above.   Even if we could afford to pay these people, and of course, many of the ones applying with BA's in ECE are expecting $40,000/yr., they're just not out there to hire.  The new rating standards will cause many of us to discontinue taking Care4Kids, and in addition to the economic impact upon our programs, it will be devastating to the children to whom we provide services as they'll have nowhere to turn.


This is the type of issue that has us scratching our heads wondering why every private funded licensed center in CT hasn't joined CCCA ... even for free.  But that aside, we have an opportunity to present our thoughts.  We're asking you, whether you're a member or not, to speak up.   Email your thoughts to Deb Flis, who is coordinating the taskforce recommendations, at  We'd appreciate if you'd copy as well, as we'd like to create a compendium of the input that primarily private funded providers in CT are providing.

The Department of Public Health (DPH) serves an important role in regulating child care programs in our state.  Any time a DPH inspector chooses to visit a program it can be intimidating for center staff and managers.  After all, the regulations can be confusing and it can seem like your licensor holds the fate of your reputation in his or her hand.  But there are ways to make this a more productive, less fearful relationship.

  1. Let your staff know that a DPH representative is visiting the program.  This helps to relieve the stress of “strangers with badges” asking them questions and looking over their shoulders.  Have an assistant manager join the inspection if possible.  This is a time for him or her to collect the staff and child files that the inspector will need to review as well as any other information that may be needed.
  2. Walk through the program with the inspector.  You are allowed to do this.   This is the opportunity to answer questions and ensure that the inspector finds the items they must and understands your policies in action.  This is also the opportunity for the manager to see a violation at the same time an inspector does, making it easier for the center for formulate appropriate responses.
  3. Have your files and information organized and easily accessible.  You will be nervous.  Have well organized files and information limits the need to sort through papers with shaking hands while you search for that physical that you “just know you received “.
  4. Ask questions during the exit interview.  Have the inspector show you the regulations that you do not understand.  Make sure that you discuss the practical and logistic difficulties your center may have in making a policy change.
  5. Understand your options if you do not agree with a violation.  DPH inspectors DO make errors.   If you disagree with a citation, you have the right to note this in your response.  If this doesn't remedy a situation you believe is unjustified, you have the right to request a hearing.   You have the right to legal representation at a hearing, whether requested by you or DPH.   In particular, if you are called to a compliance hearing, this is highly recommended.  CCCA can provide you with recommendations in this regard.
  6. Know that most citations might fall into the category of minor violations and are usually easily remedied and the inspection is a win/win for everybody.  However, you should know that there are several major violations that might lead to more serious ramifications:  Ratio, Group Size and Records.  AT ALL TIMES you should be in compliance and make extra efforts to be  so.   Train your staff and stress the importance of adherence.
Most importantly…breathe.  Most inspectors are there to simply do their jobs.  Many of them have been center managers in the past and understand your anxiety.  We all want to maintain compliance with regulations and provide high quality programs.  Have confidence in your efforts to do so.

If you need clarification on a DPH regulation or request, let CCCA hear from you.  We can often assimilate the information from different members and present questions directly to DPH.  They have been responsive to concerns presented in this manner.
The CT Child Care Association (CCCA) would like to wish its members, friends and followers a Happy New Year!

2013 is here and should prove to be an exciting time for the private child care industry.  CCCA has many plans to help elevate the interests and needs of the industry through lobbying efforts, enhanced communication with legislators and an active role in regulation changes.  As individuals we can all take steps to support the efforts of our industry as a whole.

Get Informed

Too often, as small business owners we become entrenched in the day-to-day running of our programs.  Our days are spent with staff, families and children and our nights are spent thinking about ways to increase quality, increase enrollment, answer needs and reduce costs.  As a result, we are often surprised by what happens outside the parameters of our own busy worlds.  In 2010, childcare centers woke to the fact that preschoolers were leaving their programs for free offerings in magnet schools.  Since then the number doing so has increased consistently.   Home daycare providers found themselves suddenly unionized.  We were surprised by these events because we assumed someone would tell us what we would need to know.  Nobody did. 

It is important to seek out the information that helps best prepare for a changing world.  Read the news, follow industry organizations and research legislative developments.  It is both our right and our responsibility.   And most important, become a member of CCCA and participate in our process.  We will filter what is happening so that you, as a childcare owner, will understand how the issues affect you.

Get Involved

Too often as small business owners we view ourselves as naïve, insignificant or just too busy to participate in the events outside of our businesses and our families.  We defer to policy makers and other “experts” and allow them to act as our voices and assume they speak for us with the same interests and goals.  We find out too late that no one was actually representing our interests as private childcare businesses nor considering the impact of their decisions on our livelihoods. 

We must voice our own needs and advocate for our best interests.  We must join organizations and participate in meetings and committees.  We must communicate with legislators and let them know how they can support our businesses.  We must write to editors or attend hearings to speak out about issues.

Celebrate success as business owners

We should celebrate our success as business owners and remember that people count on our ability to be successful.  We provide jobs and quality childcare.  We support our communities and local organizations.  We care deeply about our employees and want them to be successful, too.  And let’s remember that we, as well as our employees, pay taxes that help to run our government and to fund projects around the state.