OEK passes landmark child care center bill
The Olbiil Era Kelulau has passed a landmark measure and much needed standards to regulating child care centers in Palau.
Senate Bill 9-149,SD1, HD1 was passed on third and final reading yesterday by the Senate. The bill has been stuck at the House of Delegates since 2015, but last week the delegates finally passed the measure. [restrict]
The bill is touted as one of the important legislation before the 9th Congress closes in time for the new OEK this month. It has been transmitted to the House of Delegates for deliberation and action.
The bill is aimed at ensuring the safety of children, and giving the government authority necessary to oversee childcare providers.
There is a lack of a comprehensive system in place to regulate child care centers, the measure calls for the creation of a licensing scheme operated under the Ministry of Health.
Under the bill, childcare centers need to follow set of requirements when applying for childcare center licenses.
Some of the requirements are that there is should be an appropriate ratio of child care center personnel to children, amount of square feet of activity space and administrative responsibilities of persons managing the centers.
The measure also calls for the creation of the Palau National Framework on Early Childhood Council which will better help determine “what type of rules would best fit the unique needs of child care in Palau.”
The bill also included that no childcare center should serve children younger than 12 months old and that child care centers should maintain a ratio of 1 child care provider to 4 toddlers while 1 child care provider for every 8 preschoolers.
Childcare staff members and prospective employees must provide evidence of reputable and responsible character.
The measure also have a grandfather clause that child care centers already in operation will not be subjected to the requirements within six months after this measure becomes law.
The time frame will give the existing centers to comply with the new requirements under the law.[/restrict]