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Utah ‘Care About Childcare’ Website
Child Care, Quality Improvement
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Utah Office of Child Care
As of January 2012, parents in Utah have a new way to find high quality child care providers. The Utah Office of Child Care, in partnership with the Child Care Licensing Program and Utah’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, developed a website called Care About Childcare (CAC). It highlights providers’ status on seven quality indicators (family involvement, outdoor environment, indoor environment, administration, health and safety, the program, and professional development). All licensed centers and family/home providers in the state will have a profile page on the website where they can upload a statement about their program philosophy, pictures of their program, and basic information such as the type of care provided, hours of operation, and vacancies.
Providers that have been licensed for six months or longer can apply for up to 20 criteria under each quality indicator. Some of the criteria for each indicator are: • Family Involvement • Program has a written plan on how parents can share their knowledge about their children’s interests, strengths, concerns, and goals. • Cultures of all families are represented in books, décor, and curriculum materials. • Outdoor Environment • There are portable outdoor gross motor materials for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers (riding/push toys, balls, tunnels, etc) accessible on a daily basis. • There is a table easel for art activities accessible daily. • Indoor Environment • Children are able to choose from at least three different activities during free choice times. The quantity and variety of materials and equipment offered is sufficient to provide all children with age-appropriate play and learning opportunities. • Soft surfaces, materials, and cozy area are accessible in areas used for play. • Administration • Program has a written handbook for parents that includes program philosophy, teaching methods, and goals. • Program has a signed contract with each family that includes the financial agreement as well as policies and procedures for the program. • Health and Safety • Program serves fresh fruits and vegetables daily. • Drinking water is available both indoors and outdoors throughout each day. • The Program • Program uses observations to assess children’s strengths and interests. • Program has curriculum plans that include activities that support individual children’s developmental goals and interests. • Professional Development – There is no criteria associated with this indicator; rather, a snapshot of the provider’s training registry information is used.
Providers submit documents, pictures, and inventories with their applications to verify they meet the criteria for which they are applying. Once an application has been approved, criteria will be listed on the provider’s profile page for parents to see.
In late April 2012, CAC launched a marketing campaign with TV commercials, community events, and billboards to publicize the new service to parents. The marketing campaign and other factors led to an average of 2,500 unique parent referrals per month between April and July, 2012. As of September 2012, 25% Family Child Care homes and 28% Child Care Centers were participating in CAC. As of June 2012, twenty-two percent of licensed programs were participating in the Quality Indicator program. Parents are able to view all these programs depending on how they decide to search.
To learn more visit www.careaboutchildcare.utah.gov