New federal and state requirements became effective Dec. 31, 2016 and they affect your program, which the Ohio Department of Education licenses. These new requirements resulted from changes made in September 2016 to the Child Care Development Block Grant (45 C.F.R. 98). Here are the amendments of child care rules that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the lead Ohio agency, made.
Written Information to Families and Employees
- Ohio law requires that families immunize children participating in preschool programs to the extent that the State Board of Education considers appropriate to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Effective July 1, 2017, parents will no longer be able to use reasons of conscience as a valid exemption for declining immunizations for one’s child in programs that the Ohio Department of Education licenses. Other exemptions set forth in law are still acceptable. Families must note the exemptions on the medical statement that Ohio law requires. Licensing specialists will be looking that your program removes “reasons of conscience” language from information you give parents in handbooks, websites or forms to record immunizations.
- Effective immediately, your program must provide families with information about Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment. While children enrolled in Medicaid are required to participate in this program, you must provide information to all families. Here is more information. Licensing specialists will be looking for evidence that your program provided this information to parents in handbooks, handouts or electronic communication for all enrolled children.
- Effective immediately for programs serving infants and toddlers, your program must provide families information regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C Assessments and Screenings. This requirement is for early intervention services for infants and toddlers. Here is more information. Licensing specialists will be looking for evidence that your program provided this information to parents in handbooks, handouts or electronic communication for those parents of infants and toddlers they currently serve.
New Pre-Service Orientation for Program Staff
All staff members must complete an online orientation that the Ohio Department of Education prescribes within 30 days of starting employment as a staff member. This requirement is effective immediately for all staff members hired after the date of this communication. You may use the staff member in ratio, but he or she may not have sole care of children until the completion of orientation. Staff members employed before the effective date of this communication have until June 30, 2017, to complete the required online orientation.
The staff member may use the online orientation for up to six hours of professional development for licensing. It is the staff member’s responsibility to make sure that they document the orientation completion with verification within their profile on the Ohio Professional Registry. Licensing Specialists will be looking for documentation of completed orientation within staff professional development profiles.
Under state law, the Ohio Department of Education must meet or exceed the requirements in state statute for preschool and the rules for school-age children that Job and Family Service’s adopts.
The Department of Education is currently in the process of reviewing and revising OAC Chapter 3301-37 titled Child Day-Care Programs and OAC Chapter 3301-32 titled School Child Program, in order to reflect these new requirements.
Per state law, the Department’s Licensing Specialists will begin monitoring compliance with the new requirements effective immediately.
The Department will provide its own required orientation as the rules are revised. In the interim, your program may use an orientation created by our partners at Job and Family Services. To access the orientation, please click here.
Please visit the Ohio Department of Education Preschool Licensing or School-Age Child Care website if you have any questions about new or existing licensing requirement. You also may email us directly at OELSR.licensing@education.