Endorsing Caring For Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs

  • Date: Nov 13 2002
  • Policy Number: 20022

Key Words: Childrens Health, Health Education

The American Public Health Association,

Recognizing that the APHA Policy Statement #91091 (Standard for Child Care Health and Safety) endorsed Caring For Our Children,

National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs——first edition;

Recognizing that approximately 13 million children under age 6 have both parents or their only parent in the work force, and that 65% of mothers of young children are in the workforce2;

Noting that kindergarten surveys indicate that between 30-40% of children entering kindergarten have a health or developmental condition that potentially interferes with their readiness to learn3;

Noting that children at risk for not being ready to learn could be identified prior to kindergarten entry. Nearly 1 in 4 low-income parents report their children (ages 0-3) are at risk for developmental or behavioral delays, but many of these children are not identified as at risk until school entry3;

Noting that during the first five years of life, the child’s body, brain, mind, and personality rapidly develop under the influence of everyday learning, healthy and safe environments, and nurturing experiences provided by parents and other care givers4;

Noting that a recent report by the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences has demonstrated the powerful effect that appropriately timed early interventions and health-promotion services can have on lifelong health and developmental outcomes4;

Noting that the Cost Quality, and Child Outcomes Study (1995) emphasized the importance of high quality child care in a child’s early learning experience. Unfortunately, the majority of child care settings are mediocre or poor, with only 9% of child care homes and 14% of centers providing “good” care environments5;

Recognizing that the National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC) has defined school readiness to include a child’s readiness to enter and succeed in school, the readiness of schools to support the education and development of a child, and the ability of family and community to support and contribute to a child’s school readiness. A child’s school readiness includes cognition and general knowledge, social-emotional development, physical health and good nutrition, motor development, and language development.6

Recognizing that the National Governors Association (NGA) policy position on child care and early education policy encourages working toward a seamless child care and early education system that provides a safe, nurturing and developmentally sound environment for all children and it is linked to health care and education systems7;

Recognizing that the NGA policy position on child care and early education policy identifies options for federal government roles and responsibilities to include promotion and dissemination of research on existing, high-quality child care and early education programs and support for state efforts to enforce state licensing and accreditation7;

Recognizing that for parents to be productive in their workplace while their child is in out-of-home care, they must feel confident that their child is in a safe and nurturing environment, free from harm and injury;

Recognizing that Caring for Our Children; National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs, second edition, is a joint collaborative project of, the American Public Health Association (APHA) the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care (NRCHSCC) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;8

Noting that Caring for Our Children; National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs, second edition is recognized as the leading authoritative tool for health and safety guidelines for child care and serves as the guidelines for child care providers, parents of children in child care, health professionals serving child care, and state officials responsible for watching over health and safety in child care8; and

Therefore, APHA

  1. Endorses Caring For Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs-second edition.
  2. Encourages child care providers, child care health consultants, all state health and child care administrators, and child care licensing/ regulators to adopt Caring for Our Children as their current standard of care.
  3. Urges states to develop publicly funded early childhood education/pre-kindergarten programs.
  4. Encourages the Federal government to support states in their efforts to improve the quality of early care and education by assisting child care programs in their implementation of “Caring For Our Children.”

References

  1. APHA Policy Statement #9109: Standard For Child Care Health and Safety. APHA Policy Statements; 1949–present, cumulative. Washington DC: American Public Health Association; current volume.
  2. “Child Care Basics,” Children’s Defense Fund (2001)
  3. “Parents Concerns about Childrens Development,” Glasco FP Pediatrics 99:522-528.
  4. “From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Child Development.” Shonkoff, Jack P.; Phillips, Deborah, National Academy of Sciences, (2000).
  5. Suzanne Helburn, et al., “Cost, Quality and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers,” Department of Economics, University of Colorado at Denver (1995). 
  6. “NAEYC Position Statement on School Readiness,” National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC), (1995).
  7. “HR-21. Child Care and Early Education Policy,” National Governors Association, (2000).
  8. “Caring for Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs”——second edition, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, (2002).

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