Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Changes to day care standars,Gateways to Opportunity Registry,New Crib Standards

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The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has adopted changes to the licensing standards for centers (Rule 407) and homes/group homes (Rule 406 & 408). Before being adopted, the changes to the standards went through a public comment period and were approved by the state's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Gateways to Opportunity Registry (applies to centers and homes)
All child care providers, staff and directors must be enrolled in the Gateways to Opportunity Registry by September 1, 2012.  The Gateways to Opportunity Registry provides a Professional Development Record to help individuals track their education and trainings.
Joining the Gateways to Opportunity Registry is free and easy. Applying online is the fastest way to enroll ( It takes about 15 minutes and provides immediate enrollment confirmation.

If you prefer a paper application, the application is available at the website listed above and can be printed and mailed to :
1226 Towanda Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61701
The main benefit of the Gateways Registry is the individualized Professional Development Record (PDR). The PDR displays an individual’s education, credentials/certifications, and trainings. A PDR can be printed at any time from a secure website by the Registry Member only. DCFS will accept the PDR as documentation of completion of pre-service and in-service training hour requirements for licensing. In addition, the Registry offers a statewide online training calendar to help you locate trainings to further your professional development. When you bring your Gateways to Opportunity Registry membership card to any Registry-approved training, your participation will automatically be added to your PDR.

New Crib Standards (applies to centers and homes)
By December 28, 2012 all child care centers and homes using cribs must have cribs that meet or exceed the new federal safety standards. The Federal Government created the new safety standards due to the number of child deaths that resulted from unsafe cribs.  Only cribs manufactured and sold after June 28, 2011 meet the new federal safety standards.

Child care providers are responsible for maintaining the manufacturer's certificate showing the crib meets the new safety standards. This certificate must be available during visits from your licensing representative.  If the manufacturer's certificate cannot be obtained, providers may show alternative proof that the crib was manufactured on or after June 28, 2011.

Qualifications for Directors (applies to centers only)
Directors hired on or after July 1, 2017 must have a minimum of an associates degree in child development or early childhood education.

Please note: The child care director qualification language that DCFS issued  does not match the language originally recommended by the state's Early Learning Council (ELC). The ELC's recommendation that directors have a minimum of an associates degree in child development or early childhood education included language that stated the following:

"or equivalent and either a Gateways to Opportunity Level I Illinois Director Credential or 3 semester hours of college credit or 3 points of credential approved training in administration, leadership, and management"

The Governor's office is working with DCFS to draft a revision to the rule to ensure that the ELC's recommended language is adopted.  Given that this requirement is not to be enforced until 2017, there is ample time for this change to take place.

To see a complete version of the revised licensing standards, visit the DCFS website at: