What an Accredidated Daycare Really Means

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Many people feel at ease when they know someone is qualified for the daycare job if they are licensed or have a certificate, degree, accredidation, or Goal Seal quality care. Many of these “standards” are met by having an average or maybe even a slightly above-average program but being able to pay the $500-$1200 fee for materials and for the accredidation process. It really comes down to money.

In the state of Florida there are 171 NAFCC Accredited daycare homes (this is the highest honor in terms of qualified care). In Orange county there are only 2. Most of the providers that are accredited are in Miami-Dade county.

To be a home daycare provider, all you need is a high school degree, take 35-credit hours of daycare courses (online or in person), complete competency exams, pass background screening, and begin care as soon as you’re ready to open. Most of the caregivers I’ve seen or come across shouldn’t be in the field for many reasons, primarily because they don’t truly understand children’s development and they are not good at handling rough moments lovingly.

The reason that most daycare centers have accredidation is because they charge their parents enough tuition to be able to afford a $500-$1200 fee because that’s easier to come by for them than for one daycare provider who earns $500 in a week with 3-4 kids in care (nearly at capacity, depending on age). It comes down to a money game more than a quality game. For the NAFCC Accredidation, they require a provider to pay $300 just for the learning materials to learn HOW to become accredited. It’s another $600 to apply and have someone come out and observe your practice for a day, review your records, etc to ensure you’re a quality provider.

Most daycare centers that I’ve visited have been quite dirty (walls, windows, everything) and some of these places are accredited ! Parents think that because a “teacher” at a daycare center has a degree or a certificate in childcare that this person is better equipped to handle 3 or 4 babies than they would be. The truth is that the provider is still just one person ! And centers operate on very rigid scheduling (even diaper changes are done routinely, not based on a child’s personal excrement cycle) so a baby may be sitting in a poopy diaper for an hour (hence why diaper rash is so commonplace in centers, as is illness).

In researching about what it means and takes to be accredited, the only thing seemingly stopping most providers from doing it is money. $900 is a lot for some educational materials and a title of being accredited for a small daycare home. That’s nearly 2 weeks worth of wages ! It’s really eye-opening to see what these standards really mean. I can understand there should be a fee for being held to a high standard, but I believe the focus of the matter should truly be the QUALITY of care, not the large sum of money a provider is required to scrape out of her budget to get this recognition. It just seems like any person could have this achievement that had $900 to put toward it and some time to study then put on a show for the observer.

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