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Consumer Education Website

States are required to make consumer education materials, including the results of monitoring and inspection reports, available by “electronic means.” For this provision, ACF has interpreted that “electronic means” refers to a consumer-friendly and easily accessible website. States are required to create and maintain a website that ensures the widest possible access to services for families who speak languages other than English and for people with disabilities.

While states do have flexibility on the “look” or design of the consumer education website, the Act and final rule define “required” and “recommended” elements of consumer education.

There are 12 required consumer information components. This section presents the required components that states must offer on their child care consumer education websites. Requirements are organized by topic. These components are as follows:

Required State-Level Consumer Education Components:

1. Contact information for referrals to local child care resource and referral organizations.

2. Directions on how parents can contact the Lead Agency or its designee, and other programs to better understand information on the website.

3. Lead Agency policies and procedures relating to child care, including an explanation of:

  • how the Lead Agency licenses child care providers, including the rationale for exempting providers from licensing requirements;
  • the procedure for conducting monitoring and inspections of child care providers;
  • policies and procedures related to comprehensive criminal background checks for staff members of child care providers; and the offenses that prevent individuals from being employed by a child care provider, serving as a child care provider, or receiving CCDF funds.

4. Aggregate Reporting: CCDF requires that “Lead Agencies must post the aggregate number of deaths, serious injuries, and instances of child abuse that occurred in child care settings each year, for eligible child care providers [45 CFR 98.33(a)(5); section 658E(c)(2)(D)]. The information on deaths and   serious injuries must be separately delineated by category of provider  (e.g. centers, family child care homes) and licensing status (i.e., licensed or license-exempt).” The information should include:

  • the total number of serious injuries of children in care by provider category/licensing status;
  • the total number of deaths in care by provider category/licensing status;
  • the total number of substantiated cases of child abuse in child care settings; and
  • the total number of children in care by provider category/licensing status.

5. Aggregate number of deaths in child care settings each year.

6. Aggregate number of serious injuries in child care settings each year.

7. Aggregate instances of substantiated child abuse in child care settings each year. Since the report should display data totals, the report should not include provider-specific information or names.

Note: for items 5–7: The aggregate information on data report on serious injuries, and deaths, and total children in care must be organized by category of care (center, family child care, etc.) and licensing status for all eligible CCDF provider categories in the state. The information on data on instances of substantiated cases of child abuse does not have to be organized by category of care or licensing status. The aggregate number of serious injuries, deaths, and instances of substantiated abuse in child care must include information about any child in the care of a provider eligible to receive CCDF, not just children receiving subsidies. States and territories must also include the total number of children in care by provider category and licensing status. This helps families view the serious injuries, deaths, and substantiated cases of abuse data in context. For licensed care, states and territories can provide an estimated number of children in care based on the capacity of licensed programs rather than actual enrollment or attendance numbers. For license-exempt care, states and territories have the option of indicating “not applicable” or N/A if they do not have a way of estimating the number of children in care or, at a minimum, including the number of children receiving CCDF assistance in license-exempt programs.

                         Office of Child Care. (2016). Child Care and Development Fund final rule frequently asked questions
                         https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/ccdf-final-rule-faq#Consumer%20Education

8. Date of last inspection.

9. Corrective actions (if applicable).

10. Three years of monitoring data.

  • Inspection and Monitoring Reports: Results of provider-specific monitoring and inspection reports for the required annual monitoring visits and visits due to major substantiated complaints about a provider’s failure to comply with health and safety requirements and child care policies. The following apply to the posting of inspection and monitoring reports:
    1. Lead Agencies must post the full monitoring and inspection reports for all licensed child care providers (regardless of whether they serve children receiving CCDF) and all nonrelative child care providers eligible to deliver CCDF services. States and territories may exclude relative-only providers.
    2. The reports must be posted in a timely manner to ensure that the current reports are available for parents when they are choosing a child care provider.
    3. States must post full monitoring and inspection reports in easy-to-understand, plain language so that families can easily understand them. If full reports are not in plain language, Lead Agencies must then post a plain language summary of the report in addition to the full report. Both the summary and full report must include the following:
  1. Date of inspection
  2. Corrective actions taken by the Lead Agency and child care provider, where applicable.
  3. Prominently display of any health and safety violations, including any fatalities or serious injuries that occurred at that child care provider site.

The report or summary must include the health and safety violations and any serious injuries or deaths that occurred at the provider site. The following apply to the posting of monitoring reports:

  1. Reports must be available for all licensed providers and nonrelative providers eligible to provide CCDF services.  
  2. States and territories may exclude relative-only providers.
  3. The reports must be in easy-to-understand language (as defined by the state or territory) and be timely to ensure that the results of the reports are available and easily understood by parents when they are deciding on a child care provider.
  4. Lead Agencies must post at least 3 years of reports when available, going forward (not retrospectively), beginning October 1, 2018.

11. Contact information for referrals to local child care resource and referral organizations.

Provider-level Consumer Education Components:

12. A localized searchable list of all licensed child care providers searchable by zip code. At Lead Agency discretion, all child care providers eligible to deliver CCDF services (other than an individual who is related to all children for whom child care services are provided), may be included and identified as either licensed or license-exempt. The list does not have to contain providers caring for children to whom they are related.

Note that this requirement had an implementation deadline, see the attachment to Program Instruction CCDF-ACF-PI-2015-02: Timeline of Effective Dates for States and Territories: Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. [2]

The Office of Child Care issued an information memorandum (IM) related to child care consumer education website requirements and resources. The IM provides guidance and best practices to help state and territory Lead Agencies design, implement, and maintain the required Child Care and Development Fund consumer education websites. See the attachment to Child Care Consumer Education Website Requirements and Resources, CCDF-ACF-IM-2018-02. Additionally, the Child Care State Capacity Building Center has published a series of guides, tools, and webinars to help state and territories create and maintain effective and family-friendly child care consumer education website.

Resources for Requirements

State and Territory Child Care Consumer Education Website: Self-Assessment Checklist

This checklist is designed to be utilized as a self-assessment tool by states as they review their child care consumer education website for 1) alignment with CCDF consumer education website requirements; 2) recommendations within the preamble to the CCDF final rule; and 3) additional best practice considerations for user-friendly website design. The items within each section of the checklist reference the regulatory requirements within the CCDBG Act of 2014 and the CCDF final rule at 45 C.F.R. 98.33.

The tool can also be used to track the state or territory’s progress with its design and implementation of the child care consumer education website. Some of the consumer education information may be provided by offering a link to child care licensing, child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies, the child care subsidy website, and other state or territory government departments, offices, or agencies that offer the required child care consumer education information. The tool can also be helpful to document the URLs and links to other sites providing consumer education.

The checklist can be accessed at https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/resource/ccdf-consumer-education-website-requirements-fillable-checklist.

Aggregate Data Template for Posting Serious Incidents.

This guide describes the requirements for posting aggregate data and provides an example of how states and territories can display the aggregate number of serious injuries, deaths, and instances of substantiated abuse in child care on their consumer education websites to meet CCDF regulations. The template can be accessed at https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/resource/template-displaying-serious-injuries-deaths-and-instances-substantiated-child-abuse-child.

Consumer Education Requirements Infographic Handout

This handout lists all of the requirements associated with the consumer education website, as well as CCDF recommended features. The handout can be accessed at https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/resource/ccdf-consumer-education-website-requirements-infographic.

 

 


[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658E(c)(2)(E); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.33 (2016).

[2] Office of Child Care. (2015). CCDF-ACF-PI-2015-02 attachment: Timeline of effective dates for states and territories: Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/resource/pi-2015-02-attachment-timeline-of-effective-dates-for-states-and-territories-ccdbg-act-of-2014