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Some South Carolina Family Childcare Homes Did Not Always Comply With State Health and Safety Requirements

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The South Carolina Department of Social Services' (State agency) monitoring did not always ensure that homes that received funding form the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) funds complied with State guidelines or requirements related to the health and safety of children. Of the 20 homes we selected for review 16 did not comply with 1 or more of the guidelines for physical conditions; 9 did not comply with guidelines for child records; 4 did not comply with training requirements; and 4 were not available during operating hours to complete our unannounced inspection, which prevented us from assessing the physical conditions and children's records within these homes related to the health and safety of children in their care.

The instances of noncompliance occurred because the State agency did not have mandatory regulations to protect the health and safety of children that apply to all providers who receive CCDF funds, as required by 45 CFR § 98.41, but instead had guidelines only for physical conditions in homes and prevention and control of infectious disease. With respect to employee training requirements, the State agency identifies on its Web site those homes that are not in compliance; however, it is not required to impose additional penalties for training deficiencies. As a result, the health and safety of children in those CCDF-funded homes that are not licensed may be at risk.

We recommended that the State agency (1) conduct an annual inspection of registered family childcare homes in accordance with the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014; (2) ensure that the program complies with Federal health and safety requirements for CCDF providers, including establishing mandatory building, premises, and immunization requirements; (3) ensure that CCDF homes complete and submit to the State agency documentation of the minimum 2 hours per year of training for all personnel and impose penalties for failure to comply; and (4) ensure that required documentation is included in the children's records. The State agency concurred with our recommendations and provided information on actions that it has taken or plans to take to address our recommendations.

Filed under: Administration for Children and Families