Government Affairs


NJ-DCF Child Care Manual Update
The new Department of Children and Families (DCF) "Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers" was reauthorized on March 6, 2017. The department made several changes, and the New Jersey Child Care Association (NJCCA) had two members serving on the ad-hoc citizen's advisory committee that reviewed the regulations. 

Please click here for a copy of the regulations.

Please click here for a copy of clarification on rest and sleep time requirements.

NJ DCF Must Honor Division of Fire Safety Bulletin:  2013-1
Through its advocacy efforts, the New Jersey Child Care Association was able to broker an agreement where the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) must honor Bulletin: 2013-1, published by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.  Bulletin: 2013-1 addresses school security, specifically the locking of classroom doors.  

SLOW DOWN!!!  Recent Vanderbilt Study Shows Surprising Results From Highlighted Pre-K Programs

A recent study released by The Peabody Research Institute of Vanderbilt University clearly demonstrates that the rush to implement government-funded universal Pre-K is likely misguided at best, and may be detrimental to youngsters at worst. The study centered around Tennessee’s voluntary Pre-K program, (TN‐VPK), which is an optional program focused on the neediest children in the state. Students participating in the TN-VPK program were matched up against students who did not attend Pre-K and the results were not in line with the narrative being perpetuated by those aggressively supporting government-funded Pre-K expansion.

 

Among the findings, the study carefully reviewed “the sustainability of effects on achievement and behavior beyond kindergarten entry. Children in both groups were followed and reassessed in the spring every year with over 90% of the initial sample located tested on each wave. By the end of kindergarten, the control children had caught up to the TN‐VPK children and there were no longer significant differences between them on any achievement measures. The same result was obtained at the end of first grade using both composite achievement measures.”

 

Much of this conclusion directly contradicts information that proponents of the government-funded Pre-K expansion have been telling the public in their expansion campaign. In addition to their unwillingness to acknowledge studies like this one, proponents have also not come up with a permanent source of funding to support their campaign.

 

The most concerning aspect of the study centers around a conclusion that directly conflicts with the proponent’s narrative. The study states, “In second grade, however, the groups began to diverge with the TN‐VPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests.”

 

The study affirms what the New Jersey Child Care Association has been saying in its response to this complicated issue. Mainly, that Pre-K programs should continue to be flexible and age appropriate.


Full version of the Peabody Pre-K Study

NJCCA Call For Increased Subsidy Payments From NJ Department of Human Services

New Jersey Child Care Association executive director Curt Macysyn called upon the commissioner of the state Department of Human Services to increase New Jersey's subsidy rate for these CCDBG vouchers, which has not increased since 2008, a situation that Macysyn called "inexplicable."  The letter calls upon acting commissioner Elizabeth Connelly to submit an increase in the department's Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

Macysyn wrote, "I respectfully ask that you increase the child care voucher payment rate at least to the federally recommended level of 75 percent of market rate and increase the total amount of funding for vouchers in your FY 2017 budget.  By doing so, private providers who accept this subsidy can continue to provide educational opportunities to at least the same number of children and working families."  


Would you want this to happen to your child?  

Before we rush into shoving every Pre-K program into the public education system, let's take a moment to consider what is best for the child.  #PreKTheRightWay

Happy Friday! NJCCA is announcing a new social media campaign to highlight the great work that private child care centers throughout New Jersey do all year.

Posted by New Jersey Child Care Association (NJCCA) on Friday, June 5, 2015
Education Spotlight:  What does your school district spend per pupil?
An annual rite of spring, all of New Jersey's public schools take a turn in the state's budget spotlight with the release of their per-pupil spending numbers. Statewide, New Jersey's public schools are creeping ever closer to the $20,000 mark, with an average in 2013-2014 of $19,211 per student, a 1.6 percent increase from 2012-2013.  Among nonspecialized districts, the outliers haven't much changed either.  The tiny one-school Avalon district rose to $48,835 for each of its 99 students, followed by Stone Harbor at $37,837 apiece for its 96 students.

New Jersey far outpaces other states in public education spending, and the public education establishment wants to take Universal Pre-K for all New Jersey students, regardless of a family's ability to handle this cost. 

When will the taxpayers say enough already?

SOUTH JERSEY TIMES EDITORIAL:  After Millville day care drowning, stricter oversight needed for those who care for our children.
Some stories hit closer to home than others.

For any parent who leaves their child in the care of others, this week's news of a toddler drowning at a Millville day care was likely a kick to the gut.

For more information on governmental affairs, legislation and regulation, please contact: Guy Falzarano, Chair of the Governmental Affairs and Legislative Committee at guy@lightbridgeacademy.com
Legislative Snapshot

The NJCCA Legislative Team is Pushing for Reform of Environmental, Health and Safety Regulations

Environment

Recent rules and regulations proposed and/or promulgated dealing with a child care's indoor and outdoor environment have become increasingly onerous, adding delays and costs to opening a community-based preschool/child care center.  Of the recent rules and regulations adopted by NJ, the numerous environmental certifications required to open a preschool/child care center are by far the most burdensome.

Preschool/Center owners must pay approximately $4,000 in new fees attached to these new environmental certifications.  This is on top of municipal fees for local certifications.  On the State level, time delays from start to finish in opening a center are now 6 weeks to 6 months because three state departments need to sign off.   What this means is the owner is paying rent on a building that is empty for the entire time.  For instance, if an owner leases a 10,000 square foot building at $23 per square foot, the owner is paying $4,423 per week with no income.  For a six week period, the cost is $26,538.  This causes an unnecessary hardship for preschool/center owners.

This is especially true given that the states of Tennessee and Kansas do not have ANY environmental regulations.  Florida does a radon and soil test but the costs do not exceed $1,000.  Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut also have minimal environmental regulations.  The NJCCA has polled many states and we cannot find one that creates a bigger financial burden for preschool and child care center owners than New Jersey.
Health and Safety Standards for Preschoolers in Public Schools Compromised

Regulations governing environment, health and safety are not applied equally and discriminate against DCF licensed preschool/child care centers.  Public schools that offer preschool DO NOT have to abide by DCF environmental, health and safety regulations which are mcuh more restrictive than DOE environmental, health and safety regulations.  In fact, a DCF-licensed community-based preschool/child care provider offering an afterschool program within a public school environment must go through the RAO process.  If contamination is found, the community-based provider must do the remediation, NOT the public school.  If an after school program was run by the school district, the RAO would not be required.  This disparate system prevents public schools and community-based preschool/child care center owners from working together in public/private partnerships.  These types of partnerships save tax dollars; yet, do not occur very often because of the uneven standards.
Safety Measures in Case of a Lock-down

With the Sandy Hook massacre, the Department of Community Affairs Division on Fire Safety has issued a bulletin on "door locking."  The DCA Bulletin allows for the locking of doors so outside individuals cannot get in to a classroom providing that the door can be opened from the inside.  New Jersey Department of Children and Families Office of Licensing prohibit the use of locks on all community-based preschool/child care center classroom doors, causing a conflict that needs to be resolved.  Given the tragedy in Sandy Hook, DCF licensed preschool/child care center owners want the ability to lock down all interior doors from the inside of each classroom (when possible.)  The owners also want the ability to cover vision panels during a lockdown.  Currently, DCF licensed preschool/child care centers cannot do either.

Other changes such as the new qualification standards for directors, nutrition and exercise programming and the prohibition of stackable cribs have added additional costs strangling the provider.  Add these additional costs to New Jersey's already inflated costs of doing business and observers can see why so many smaller community-based preschools/child are centers are closing and new centers are not opening (unless the center is part of a chain where the costs are spread over multiple centers.)