Are you looking for quality child care?

For most people today, having a child means needing some form of child care during the child’s years up to 5 years of age while you, the parent(s) is at work. Here in Hawai‘i, PATCH, the only state-supported child care resource and referral agency, can provide you with the most updated list of licensed child care providers, including family child care homes, day care centers, preschools, and after- and before- school care.

PATCH’s mission is to improve and support both the quality and availability of care for the young people of Hawai‘i. Primary programs that service our community include Child Care Resource and Referral; Family Child Care Recruitment; Professional Development, including scholarships, training classes and the Hawai‘i Careers for Young Children Registry; Child Care Food Program and other Quality Care Initiatives.

In this article, we will just talk about the state licensed Child Care Providers that PATCH refers to.

What does it take to be a state DHS “Licensed” Child Care Provider?

Any person who is paid to care for three or more children in their home, who are not their own, is required by law to become licensed with the Hawai‘i State Department of Human Services. Licensed family child care providers can care for up to six children, of which only two can be under the age of 18 months.

How do they qualify?

• Pass health and safety standards defined by the state.

• Provide evidence of a satisfactory physical examination and TB clearance for all household members.

• Acquire CPR/First Aid training with certificate.

• Complete child abuse/neglect history check and criminal history check of all adult household members.

• Provide employment history and references.

• Shall be qualified through training (PATCH offers child care training classes in addition to other sources in the community or online), experience, and personal qualities for the age group with which they work.

• Will be issued a license-Certificate of Approval by the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services with the state of Hawai‘i seal to operate a child care business.

These individuals not only care for our precious keiki, but they also manage their own small business. The business is in their own family’s home and their business can run an average of 10 hours a day. After the children leave for the day, there are the duties they perform to prepare for the next day and administratively support their business. They also pursue professional development to keep current with child care issues and/or to support their business in general. They are much more than “babysitters,” they are business professionals and should be acknowledged as such — they are “child care professionals.”

Be cautious when choosing child care:

• If someone says they are “PATCH-certified” this means they have received certificate(s) for completing PATCH training(s) on child care. Please be aware that this does not necessarily mean they are a state DHS licensed child care provider.

• If someone is watching more than two unrelated children without a license, they have no state oversight, s/he is operating illegally and could be shut down at a moment’s notice.

Also, if someone says they are “licensed,” ask them if it is a state DHS license for child care (there are all kinds of “licenses” i.e. driver’s, general excise, bicycle, poetic!) and ask to see the license. PATCH only refers to state-licensed Child Care Providers.

In a future article we will cover tips on how to choose quality child care.

Call PATCH child care specialists for all your child care needs, including information on how to choose the care that’s best for your child, subsidies to pay for care, or any other questions you may have. You can also do your own search on our Web site at www.patchhawaii.org

• For more ideas, information and resources on how to understand, help and enrich your child’s development, call Anna Peters, Kaua’i Good Beginnings coordinator at 632-2114 or Cathy Shanks, PATCH, at 246-0622. This article is provided by the Kaua‘i Good Beginnings Council Public Awareness Committee.

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