This is the key finding of the report, "Leaving Children To Chance: 2012 Update" just published by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA).
The report looked at research-based criteria for quality care, including: frequency of state inspections, types of background checks, required training, number of children allowed in each home and more.
Scores for the top 10 states ranged from 86 to 120 (out of a possible 150). One state (Oklahoma) earned a "B", three states (Washington, Kansas and Delaware and the Department of Defense) earned a "C", four states earned a "D" (Maryland, Alabama, the District of Columbia and Colorado) and the 10th state (Massachusetts) eared an "F" as did all the remaining states.
Twenty-four states scored zero in the report either because they did not inspect homes before licensing or because they allowed more than six children in the home before requiring a license, or did not license small homes.
This report is the third update for NACCRRA's review of small family child care home requirements and oversight. The previous two reports were released in 2008 and 2010.
Although the report noted that some progress had been made, more progress is needed to ensure that children are safe and in a quality setting.
The report makes a series of recommendations, including the requirement of background checks for child care providers, quarterly inspections, 40 hours in initial training and 24 hours of annual training, limit the number of children one child care provider can care for to six, and more.
See how your state ranked.
I have always been a supporter of stronger licensing standards for family child care providers. They help protect children and increase the professionalism of child care providers. More state and federal assistance is needed to make this a reality.
Image credit: www.naccrrra.org