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School-Age Licensing Requirement Needs and Considerations

Monday, 19 September 2022 08:05

The recently released Practice Brief from the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) highlights considerations for addressing school-age needs in state child care licensing. NCASE reviewed selected states' school-age childcare licensing requirements and emphasized a variety of ways licensing requirements can and should support school-age providers and the youth they serve. This brief offers insights for licensing agencies to consider when focusing on the needs of school-age programs and providers, including:

Staff Qualifications and Professional Development Requirements: Create minimum qualifications for the program directors and other staff that focus on degrees and coursework that is inclusive of school-age youth.

Group Sizes for School-Age Children Ratio: Ratios are a key component of quality programs. While lower ratios allow for more relationship building between program staff and youth, school-age youth require less intensive supervision. Programs should be creative in finding ways to manage ratios, including cross-age peer mentoring and allowing older youth to work directly with school-age youth.

Age-Appropriate Health and Safety Training: Include health and safety training tailored to school-age youth needs.

Developmentally Appropriate Programming: Offer guidance on developmentally appropriate curricula and programming that connects families and schools with the full academic and social progress of the youth in the school-age programs.

The Need for School-Age-Focused Training and Technical Assistance: Lastly, a comprehensive review of training and technical assistance providers who can support school-age programs and providers should be included in the process.

In conclusion, state CCDF Lead Agencies and other licensing entities should consider how school age is addressed in their existing licensing regulations and work with school-age collaborators, including NAA affiliates and others, to examine whether this approach appropriately serves school-age providers and provides them with the support to create programming environments in which school-age children can thrive.

As states continue to discuss how to spend their supplemental Child Care and Development Block Grant Act funds, collaborators can consider how they might review, revise, or reimagine existing licensing regulations to best address school-age needs.

You can read the full brief here.