The board of directors of the Professional Family Child Care Alliance of Georgia (PFCCAG) offer this public comment in response to the proposed rule changes to section 290-2-3-.05, Inspections and Investigations.
PFCCAG board of directors understands the principle behind the proposed rule change. We support the authority of the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) to ensure children’s safety Yet, we are concerned about licensed family child care learning home (FCCLH) provider’s right to privacy in their homes. The potential abuses of the proposed rule change are many. In essence, the proposal opens the family child care provider’s entire home environment to inspection regardless of reason. The optics alone could cause the family child care provider a loss of business. This proposal is contrary to the original rule that designated the separation of business and personal use which continues to be recognized by the Occupational Health and Safety Act for home-based businesses.
Georgia’s history of policing and government sanctioned oppression of people in communities of color runs deep. Home-based child care as historically been the child care preference of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Therefore, the PFCCAG board of directors also have concerns about the potential for social injustice related to policing FCCLHs. Rules that support authorities to invade the homes of people of color have resulted in cultural trauma and shows a lack of sensitivity towards BIPOC family child care providers. It is imperative that inspectors/investigators receive sensitivity training and have strict protocols to follow when entering unlicensed areas of what is a family child care provider’s personal space.
Punishments for failing to cooperate in an inspection/investigation are punitive. PFCCAG board of directors supports required unannounced visits of the home’s child care spaces. Yet in the proposed rule change, inspectors/investigators will be accessing parts of the home other than the designated child care spaces. Family child care providers will expect to accompany those coming into their homes to ensure that the inspector/investigator is supervised, proper procedures are followed, and questions can be answered as they arise. This has implications for the supervision of children in care. Family child care providers may be forced into a catch-22 situation – either comply with the inspector/investigator or supervise the children properly. Failure to do either may result in denial, restriction, or revocation of a license. At a minimum, a finding could occur that negatively impacts the family child care provider simply due to the inspection/investigation itself.
The proposed rule change does not reflect or address any type of appeal or grievance process. Family child care providers undergoing inspection/investigation need a way to report inappropriate behaviors of inspector/investigators or the results of said inspection/investigation. The proposed rule change does not specify who will inspect/investigate. It is important that family child care providers know who is coming into their homes.
Georgia licensed family child care providers were asked for their thoughts and questions regarding the proposed rule change. We have included the list as addendum 1. The purpose of this correspondence is for PFCCAG board of directors to notify DECAL of concerns from licensed family child care learning home providers. These are some unintended consequences to be considered prior to voting on these proposed changes.
Sandra Ramsey, President of the Board
On behalf of the Professional Family Child Care Alliance of Georgia
Responses to proposed rule change
Section 290-2-3-.05, Inspections and Investigations.
What findings did DECAL have to propose this rule change which appear to have an adverse connotation in relation to an American’s First Amendment Rights?
What are the steps for disclosing the department’s findings to the public?
Clarify difference between a monitoring inspection and an investigation. Will this amount to more than two monitoring and licensing study visits per year?
What levels of protection will be in place to ensure that staff doing the inspecting and investigating do not erroneously apply these rules?
Is there a grievance procedure for providers who believe they have been falsely accused and subjected to unwarranted inspections or investigations?
What level of inspection of investigation will happen? Are there limitations for licensing staff conducting inspections; specifically, what goes outside of its intent?
If a provider refuses to allow an inspector or investigator access to a locked drawer, a safe, bathroom cabinets, and the like (places with personal items and that are not large enough to hide a child), what are the consequences? Is there a balance between rights to privacy and authority of inspectors or investigators? Will there be a listing of family child care provider’s rights as a FCCLH recognized by DECAL?
What type of child care supervision is expected to happen when providers accompany inspectors or investigators throughout their homes?
How will DECAL ensure that children and family child care providers will be kept safe from exposure to communicable diseases, weapons, indiscreet verbalizations, etc.
Is the investigation and refutation process (if any) valid and unbiased?
How can licensed 2-and 3-star programs assist in developing more provider-friendly guidelines for DECAL to create and help enforce?
Will the FCCLH have to forego any local, state, or federal funding currently receiving if they choose not to grant consent for DECAL to access their entire property?
Could FCCLH rights be reinstated later?
Click the icon the right to download a copy of PFCCAG's position statement.