Local News

New Day Care Rating Standards Worry Some Providers

Posted January 1, 2006 5:18 a.m. EST

— It was naptime at Grandma's House Family Child Care, but owner Shirley Brown had a hard time keeping quiet about North Carolina's new day care rating system.

"We can only keep five kids, so we don't have the financial stability like we need," said Brown.

She's talking about the money family child care providers will need to go back to school. Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, the star rating system will focus on staff education and program standards.

The state will still monitor a day care's compliance history, but it will no longer be part of the ratings. That means day cares will have to do more with programs and education to keep their stars.

"Being a family child care provider, we are somewhat tied down in our profession, both economically and time-wise, because we cannot take the time to go back to school," said Brown.

"We know current providers are concerned about what this may mean -- are they going to lose stars?" said Anna Carter, with the state's Division of Child Development.

Carter said existing day care providers would have two years to comply with the new standards. Plus, she said what's important is the child care itself.

"I think it'll be great for parents, because they'll be even more certain of the quality of care their kids are receiving," she said.

"It's always better from that standpoint," said Brown. "For us, we have to work harder to come up to the standards. But in order to get something, we must give something."

At Grandma's House, Brown will have to work and study harder to keep her five-star rating. The new law but only immediately impacts new day cares. Existing day cares have two years to comply with the new standards.