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Some Florida Childcare Centers Did Not Always Comply With State Health and Safety Licensing Requirements

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Although the Florida Department of Children and Families (State licensing agency) or county conducted the required inspections at the four providers that we reviewed, this onsite monitoring did not ensure that providers that received funds from the Child Care and Development Fund complied with State licensing requirements related to the health and safety of children. Although one provider complied with staff and child record requirements, all four of the providers that we visited did not comply with the physical conditions requirements, two providers did not comply with staff record requirements, and two providers did not comply with child record requirements.

The instances of noncompliance at all four providers occurred because the State licensing agency and county did not ensure that the providers took proactive steps to remain compliant with the minimum State licensing requirements related to the health and safety of children. The State licensing agency classifies violations under a progressive enforcement system using three classification levels for violations, and classifies as less severe most of the instances of noncompliance sited in our report. The State indicated that some instances of less severe noncompliance may occur between inspections, but it is the responsibility of the childcare provider to ensure ongoing compliance between inspections.

We recommended that the State lead agency work with the State licensing agency and counties to ensure that (1) providers meet training requirements and that the required documentation is included in staff records for all employees who provide direct services to children; (2) required documentation is complete, current, and included in the children's files; and (3) all instances of noncompliance are documented so that providers adhere to all requirements for the health and safety of children. The State licensing 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