The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 17, 2012

Enid needs many more licensed day-care providers

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It’s a shame our society doesn’t prioritize providing quality child care.

Emphasizing this simply is common sense.

Low-quality care at an early age has a lasting effect on a child’s behavior and learning, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Studies also show quality care improves language, math and social skills.

Child care should be licensed and inspected at least three times a year by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. This regulates minimum requirements for health, safety and caregiver training.

DHS-certified child care facilities are rated: three stars, for programs that meet additional quality criteria and are nationally accredited; two stars, for programs that meet additional quality criteria or are nationally accredited; one star plus, for programs that meet additional quality criteria, including additional training, reading to children daily, parent involvement and program assessment; and lastly, one star programs.

DHS reduced the certification level for the YWCA Enid Children’s Learning Center Sept. 8 from two stars to one star, the lowest certification level for child care facilities that “meet minimum licensing requirements.”

YWCA Enid soon will close the doors on its child care center following the certification reduction.

Meanwhile, Kids Central Inc. closed its day care ministry on Oct. 12, citing unsustainable financial burdens.

Some families switched to Kid’s Central when the YWCA announced its plans to close, and those families are running out of options.

Enid’s day care options aren’t plentiful. With one major provider closing and another long-standing facility shutting its doors, we are in dire straits.

The situation is getting critical, and the only answer is for more licensed options.

One-star ratings no longer accept any new subsidized kids. It’s a matter of funding and finding people to work for low pay.

We need more licensed day care options in Enid and Garfield County.