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My bill would require child care centers to display STARS rating: Tom Mehaffie

Posted 10/11/17

It’s no secret that being a parent is challenging. Every day, parents are faced with dozens of decisions that impact the well-being of their child, their family and their family’s …

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My bill would require child care centers to display STARS rating: Tom Mehaffie

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It’s no secret that being a parent is challenging. Every day, parents are faced with dozens of decisions that impact the well-being of their child, their family and their family’s future.

I recently joined Democrat Rep. Jared Solomon, who represents parts of Philadelphia, at a press event to announce our bipartisan legislation, which we hope will make one of the more daunting parental decisions just a little bit easier.

Specifically, House Bill 1742 would require all state licensed child care centers to display their Keystone STARS rating in the facility window or on their website to help parents identify quality facilities.

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 child care centers that meet the state’s health and safety requirements are currently required to be part of the rating system.

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.

The ratings are a great resource for parents who are having a difficult time choosing child care. However, right now, few people know the rating system exists or where to find them. While cost and convenience are important factors to choosing a child care facility, quality is critical, so we need to make these ratings more visible. By doing so, we also hope to encourage some of the lower rated childcare centers to improve their learning environments.

The 106th District is home to many great, four-star rated child care centers. We are fortunate to have such excellent choices, but that isn’t the case everywhere in Pennsylvania. In Solomon’s district, 76 facilities are in the Keystone STARS program, but only three have a four-star rating. 

By putting these ratings front and center for current and prospective customers, we also will allow the free market to thrive in the economy for child care. Because not only should our kids be receiving the best child care, they should also get a four-star educational experience.

Our legislation, House Bill 1742, has been referred to the House Children and Youth Committee, where we expect it will receive a vote in the near future.

State Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara Township, represents the 106th Pennsylvania House District. Reach him at 717-534-1323 or tmehaffie@pahousegop.com.


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