Is Quality Care the Same for Everyone?
There is a trend or phase in Early Childhood that is swooping through the industry called “Quality Care.” Now, this is causing panic among providers even resulting in some deciding that it is not worth it anymore and are deciding with reluctance to close their business doors for good. Even though some changes are needed in the industry, it is coming with great concern among those who the changes are being imposed upon.
Quality Care is always in the eyes of those who frame the standards of quality. There is so much more to take in consideration of the different diversity of care that is provided across the spectrum of child care. The level of quality that may be able to be accomplished by a corporate chain facility may not be able to be achieved by a privately owned facility due to many factors. So can there ever be a legitimate measuring tool when it comes to what is quality care and what is not? I do not believe that there can be. Even, when evaluating several different Quality Care Apparatus they all vary in what each state considers to be quality care so, if they differ among states, we know that they change among providers.
Providers have the task of wondering, even after receiving the standards, what is defined as quality care. Some centers I have visited need to increase their standard of care and others outshine what the states require. The quality care standards almost always have a rating system that will dismiss many centers or at least devalue them enough where they are severally disappointed in the results. Knowing that the rating systems are connected to any government funds that they are receiving does force them to correct the areas where they fail or have a lack of quality care. Many times this comes with a significant amount of pressure, and the potential financial impact on the business induces stress and anxiety on the owners and staff, causing the owner to ponder instead if it is worth it anymore.
Quality Care can be decisive on those who must eventually conform to the standards. They must be proactive in implementing the measures themselves. Providers should not wait until it is mandatory to make a plan about how they will apply the state standards into their Childcare Business. Set up a planning session with the key players of your team the director, lead teachers, and board if you have one. Prioritize the changes that you need to make. I would recommend that you start with the top rating because it will encompass all of the lower rating levels. Never go for just the bare minimum. Providers can implement the plan in stages so that their staff and themselves will not become overwhelmed by the process.
Quality Care standards may never be fair for everyone that they affect but it is a step in the direction of making must needed changes in the care of children in childcare and family home facilities. We will lose some along the way, and that is unfortunate but in order for others to take our profession serious and for the industry to start being recognized as being professionals we must begin to govern ourselves because we are the first, outside of the home, step to the curious minds of children in education.