Bill aims to assist parents making daycare decisions

HARRISBURG – State Reps. Thomas Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) today introduced bipartisan legislation which would help parents and caregivers with the difficult decision of which daycare to send their children.

House Bill 1742 would require all state licensed childcare centers to post their Keystone STARS rating in a prominent location and on their websites.

“Parents are faced with dozens of decisions every day that impact the well-being of their child, their family and their family’s future,” Mehaffie said. “With this bill, we hope to make one of the more daunting choices a little easier by putting each facility’s quality rating front and center.”

The Keystone STARS program, operated by the state Office of Child Development and Early Learning, sets quality requirements for early childhood educators based on a four-star rating system. All licensed childcare centers that meet the state’s health and safety requirements are required to be part of the Keystone STARS system.

The Keystone STARS performance standards are grouped into four levels. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, early learning programs, partnerships with family and the community, and leadership and management.

“Parents normally make decisions on childcare based on cost and convenience, but they need to add quality to the mix,” said Solomon. “This legislation provides much-needed information that increases and improves parent choice, protects our children and allows the free market to thrive in the economy for childcare.”

The lawmakers added that they hope the new display requirements will encourage low-rated childcare centers to improve their programs.

“We have to ensure our kids are in the safest and most beneficial learning environments – that’s our No. 1 goal here,” Mehaffie said. “Not only should they be receiving the best child care, they should also get a quality educational experience.”

House Bill 1742 has been referred to the House Children and Youth Committee.

SOURCE: PA House Press Release