|Professional Development Opportunities||Family Child Care Registration|
Because the education and experience of child care providers directly affects the quality of a child care program, the Department of Children’s Services offers a variety of professional development and support services to our provider community as well as links to other community resources.
- The Department’s Training Calendar offers a wide range of workshops in child development, curriculum planning, developmentally appropriate practices, administrative procedure, health and safety and inclusion. Our annual conference gives providers the opportunity to have a more in depth training experience and to network with colleagues. The Department also provides technical assistance and support to child care providers and prospective providers either by phone or through on-site visits, when possible. Training calendars are mailed to all center-based and registered family child care providers each Fall and Spring. The most recent calendar is also available by clicking on the link above.
- The Department of Children’s Services works collaboratively with Professional Impact New Jersey (PINJ) to enhance professional development opportunities for providers in the southern region. PINJ offers providers an excellent road map for career development in early care and education in New Jersey. The Department of Children’s Services encourages all child care providers to visit the PINJ website to join the Professional Development Registry to track their training and professional development hours. PINJ’s Accreditation Facilitation Project offers financial support and guidance for providers who wish to achieve a nationally recognized standard of excellence for early care and education programs.
- The Camden County Child Care Directors Meetings take place bi-monthly from October to June at the William Rohrer Memorial Library in Westmont. All child care center-based programs are welcome to attend. These forums offer a perfect venue to learn about new initiatives, receive program updates and dialogue and network with colleagues. Meeting notices are e-mailed with agendas. Click on the link for the meeting schedule.
- Are you an E-Blast Recipient?The Department communicates regularly with the provider community through e-mail to ensure that important information about new initiatives, health and safety information and professional development opportunities is shared in a timely manner. In order to receive the latest information and updates, please make sure that the Department has your most recent and reliable e-mail address. Call (856) 374-6027 to update your information.
In New Jersey, family child care is defined as caring for a maximum of five children at one time who do not live in the home of the provider. The State does not require family child care providers to become registered. However, the Department of Children’s Services encourages anyone wishing to become a family child care provider to complete the registration process. Registered providers benefit from the following services:
- Training, technical assistance and monitoring visits from the Department of Children’s Services Family Child Care Unit which help to support the provider and enhance the quality of care for children and families.
- Inclusion in the Department’s child care referral database which assists families seeking care in Camden County.
- Eligibility to participate as a provider for families receiving child care subsidies.
Highlights of Family Child Care Registration Regulations in New Jersey
Maximum Number of Children
- No more than five children are allowed at one time who do not live in the home with the provider, except:
- Up to three additional children are allowed to a maximum of eight children at one time, if they live in the home with the provider and are under six years of age, or live with the substitute, assistant or alternate (co-provider) who is present at the time.
- The provider’s own children who are six years of age or older are not counted in this limit of eight children.
Maximum Number of Infants and Toddlers
- If no other children are present, or only school age children are present, the provider (without an assistant) may care for a maximum of:
- Three infants (birth to 12 months); or
- Two infants and two toddlers; or
- One infant and three toddlers.
- A second caregiver (substitute, assistant or alternate) is required for more infants or toddlers than the maximum.
A provider must be at least 18 years of age and of good character and reputation with sufficient knowledge, intelligence, stability, energy and maturity to maintain a family child care home and to care for children. Providers must live in the family child care home.
The application packet to be a registered provider contains:
- Two character references,
- Proof of physical examination that indicates the provider is in good health, free from communicable disease and able to care for children.
- Mantoux test results.
- Criminal Conviction Disclosures to be completed by the provider, her substitute, assistant and alternate (if any), and everyone living with the provider who is 14 years of age and older.
- Child Abuse Record Information Consent Forms to be completed by the provider, substitute, assistant and alternate (if any), and everyone living with the provider who is 14 years of age and older. These forms allow the Office of Licensing to conduct a child abuse information background check to determine whether an incident of child abuse or neglect has been substantiated against such person.
- To be registered, providers must be 18 years of age or older but need not have any educational background or experience in child care.
- Prior to registration, all prospective providers attend an Orientation and a two-day Pre-Service training. Providers get information on Family Child Care regulations, how to set up a family child care program, child growth and development, and many health and safety topics.
- Prior to registration, and after completion of the Pre-Service training, each prospective provider’s home is inspected to assure that it complies with the Manual of Requirements for Family Child Care Registration.
- If you have any additional questions regarding family child care registration or would like to become a registered family child care provider, please contact the Family Child Care Unit of the Dept. of Children’s Services at (856) 374-6137.
Opening a child care center is no small undertaking. It requires a number of skills to operate a successful program including the following:
- The desire and the knowledge base to provide the highest quality experience for the children entrusted to your care.
- Strong management and leadership skills to recruit and retain a qualified and committed staff.
- Sound business practices to operate a program which provides quality care for children, fair wages for staff and equitable fees for families.
- Download the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers which can be found athttp://www.state.nj.us/dcf/divisions/licensing/centers.html. The manual explains in detail the regulations which govern the operation of child care center programs.
- Sign up for the workshop entitled, Child Care Center Start-Up, listed on our training calendar.
- Do your homework including a needs assessment of what child care currently exist in locations that are of interest to you. The Department of Children’s Services will be happy to assist you with this information.
- When you decide on a location, check with the zoning or planning board in that community to see if the property is zoned for child care center use.
- You may also want to request a courtesy inspection from the Office of Licensing if you are looking at an existing facility. The inspector will be helpful in assessing the renovations necessary to meet licensing requirements.
As you move forward, the Department of Children’s Services is available to offer technical assistance with curriculum, staff development and training, and other resources related to professional development, financing, and business development.
Once licensed, please notify the Department of Children’s Services at (856) 374-6027 so that you can be added to our referral database, be added to our mailing and e-mail blast lists and be eligible, if you wish, to participate in the child care subsidy voucher programs.
In 2001, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) began studying the role of early care and education programs play in strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect. Out of this research, CSSP developed the Strengthening Families approach to working with families which has since been implemented in child care programs nationwide. This approach is designed to build Five Protective Factors in families, particularly parents of young children, which will help them to parent effectively, even under stress. These Five Factors include:
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Knowledge of parenting and child development
- Concrete support in times of need
- Understanding children’s social and emotional development
New Jersey was one of the first seven states to implement Strengthening Families in pilot child care centers from 2005 to 2007. Today, New Jersey continues to be a leader in implementing the initiative in early care and education programs, with more than 23 states and various other socials service agencies adopting the Strengthening Families approach.
Currently, with funding from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, each county has a minimum of eight pilot centers receiving training and support from the child care resource and referral agency to implement Strengthening Families in their early care and education programs. These centers receiving training, technical assistance and a $400 grant to assist them in their efforts. In turn, they are required to do develop a leadership team, complete a program assessment on the Strengthening Families website which focuses on seven strategic program areas and receive feedback from parents through Parent Surveys. With the information gained from this self study, centers develop a work plan to strengthening their support for families in three targeted areas. The $400 grant enables the pilot center to carry out a project which supports an initiative in the work plan. In addition, centers are asked to identify and nurture parent leaders in their centers to help support families and network with other parent leaders in the region and state.
If you are interested in participating as a Strengthening Families Pilot center, please contact the Department of Children’s Services at (856) 374-6326. By visiting the Strengthening Families website at www.strengtheningfamilies.net, any child care center can sign up, complete the program assessment and receive feedback and analysis about your program strengths and areas which may need improvement. By implementing Strengthening Families, child care centers are addressing Goals 1, 2 and 7 of the NAEYC accreditation process.
Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) comes to Camden County!
TheNutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) project will be launched in the summer of 2010 in every county in New Jersey through every Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies(CCR&Rs). The program is part of the Shaping New Jersey initiative in the NJ Dept. of Health and Senior Services which focuses on creating healthier life styles for all residents. It is no secret that New Jersey has one of the highest rates of child obesity in the nation among children ages two to five years old. NAP SACC is designed to create greater awareness and behavioral change through education and training in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and TV viewing for child care providers and the families they serve and to assist in making recommendations to improve child care licensing regulations in these areas.
In the first year each CCR&R will conduct at least two focus groups composed of child care center staff and family child care providers, parents and members of social service agencies. These groups will gather information about the level of awareness surrounding childhood obesity, feedback on probable causes and effective methods of implementing positive changes in child care settings.
In year one, five pilot centers will be chosen in each county to receive training and technical assistance to help implement changes in their programs. In year two, these trainings will be open to all child care programs. The goal of NAP SACC is to change attitudes and behavior of staff and parents in order to create healthier lifestyles for their children and to strengthen licensing regulations support these changes.
If you wish to learn more about NAP SACC and ways in which your program can participate, please contact the Department of Children’s Services at (856) 374-6376.