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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesHuman Services Raises the Bar For Child Day Care Centers

Human Services Raises the Bar For Child Day Care Centers

In an effort to establish territory-wide minimum standards that will ensure the safety and protection of children, the Department of Human Services has revised the rules and regulations for child day care centers in the territory.
Rules and regulations for V.I. day care centers and facilities have not been revised in 20 years, and Human Services is looking at completely revamping the way they are managed and administered, according to Human Services spokeswoman Monife Stout.
One of the many changes in the new regulations is the requirement that the facilitators are required to have an educational background conducive to child care. There are also specific regulations regarding the physical layout of the facilities and the educational atmosphere.
Day care centers will have two years to bring themselves into full compliance with the new regulations and will have plenty of help from Human Services. Assistant Administrator for Child and Regulatory Services Leitha Cummings said, “These are minimum standards that are not unattainable. We will be holding workshops, group meetings and one-on-one assistance to help them come into compliance.”
The department currently has four licensing specialists, two on St. Thomas and two on St. Croix, that are charged with visiting and inspecting all day care centers in the territory on a regular basis. The St. Thomas specialists visit centers on St. John on Fridays. With the new regulations, though, the number of specialists may need to be increased.
Stout said, “This is not an effort to close down any facilities if they are not in compliance. We will be able to provide the necessary assistance.”
The department wants to raise the bar for parents by letting them know what they should expect from a day care provider and making sure that children are getting the proper care.
“We are trying to bring everybody up,” said Stout. “It is a good thing for parents and providers. Ultimately, though, it’s the best thing for the children.”
Human Services will hold public meetings on all three islands to discuss the new regulations. On St. Croix, the meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 19 at the Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged cafeteria.
On St. Thomas, the meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the Sugar Estate Head Start Center conference room, while the St. John meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Rev. C. Warren Smith Hall (formerly St. Ursula’s Senior Center) in Cruz Bay.
All three meetings will be held from 6 to 9 p.m.

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