When Maui families call PATCH for information on finding child care, one of the first questions they are often asked is, “What is the difference between a babysitter and a licensed child care provider?”
Babysitters typically offer short-term or infrequent care, while licensed child care providers offer consistent, ongoing care for the child from either the provider’s home or child care center, and often for children prekindergarten age. Licensed child care providers complete a rigorous application process, including but not limited to: background checks, CPR and first aid certification, and health and safety inspection visits of the home or facility where the child care will be provided.
High quality child care providers provide safe and nurturing environments and facilitate age-appropriate activities for young children. Approximately 90% of brain development occurs before the age of five. Research supports that it is critical that child care providers offer stimulating and engaging activities to support child development.
Unfortunately, Maui County is currently experiencing a shortage of licensed child care providers. With more than 10,000 children under the age of five living in Maui County, licensed Maui County child care programs can currently only serve about 3,100 children. We need more high quality providers now more than ever before!
Families can find child care providers through PATCH, and this organization also provides free services to those who are interested in becoming licensed child care providers. PATCH provides information about the licensing requirements and their staff supports you through the licensing process. Included in the support are free training classes on child health and safety, as well as, business classes on how to start your family child care business with the confidence and knowledge needed to be successful.
PATCH, with the support of the County of Maui, also launched a new program this summer to better support the needs of currently licensed providers. The Department of Housing and Human Concerns along with PATCH recognize that like all small businesses, owning and operating a child care business can present unique challenges. The goal with the new program is to ensure that all licensed providers have access to the tools and resources necessary to stay in business, whether they are just starting or have been operating for years.
To find out more go to www.patchhawaii.org