I live in Colorado and can attest to the fact that it’s a fairly vanilla state.
To the Colorado Department of Human Services, that appears to be part of the problem.
They’ve issued a new list of proposed regulations for all childcare providers in the state, which has some of the centers crying that they don’t like being treated as children themselves.
The set of rules is long — 98 pages long — and, well, diverse, like requiring that the dolls children play with are diversified with at least three races, and that teachers are prohibited from eating fast food in front of the children as well as from wearing clothes that don’t cover their laps and shoulders.
Another change prohibits whole milk from being served to kids over the age of 2 except with a doctor’s note. More than six ounces of juice daily would also be a no-no. Specific types of blocks and toys would be required. Also under the proposed rules — each child must have an assigned caregiver and no child may be offered food more frequently than every three hours.
Officials from the Colorado Department of Human Services are touring daycare centers in the state to gather feedback on the proposed regulations, and defend the rules as guarding against neglect.
“Childcare programs cannot just stick a kid in front of a television for ten hours a day,” says Colorado Department of Human Services spokesperson Liz McDonough.
The caregivers, however, argue the rules are prohibiting them, the parents and children from making choices, and daycare options will be limited for parents as to where they can take their kids if centers are forced to close their doors as a result of the changes.
While I’m all for less television, sugar and fatty food for all kids, and while I’m sure that some daycare centers could use a good kick in the butt in terms of mixing up the toys and games being offered, if I had a kid in daycare I would, indeed, worry that my choices as to where I could send my kid would be restricted if such a lengthy and stringent list of rules were all of a sudden implemented.
Telling daycare providers what they can and can’t eat in front of the kids seems unduly prohibitive to me, and requiring dolls of at least three different races seems a bit silly (why not transgender or handicapped dolls, too, while they’re at it?). I get making daycare providers wear clothes that cover their laps, but their shoulders? Plenty of places in Colorado aren’t air conditioned because it’s usually unnecessary, but there are several weeks in the summer that it can be seriously hot. So a teacher can’t wear a tank top in an un-air conditioned classroom when it’s 90 degrees F outside?
The line of who’s making choices for kids and the people who care for them has to be drawn somewhere, I think, and some of these regulations would seem to cross it.
None of the proposed rules are expected to be finalized until mid-2012. Let the debate begin.
Just how much do you think a state should be able to impose on daycare centers?
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