Articles Tagged with Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Group Day Care HomeA Group Day Care Home is “a family home which receives more than 3 up to 16 children for less than 24 hours per day.” Illinois administrative code Part 408 (Licensing Standards for Group Day Care Homes), sets out the standards for licensure as a day care home and describes how to apply for a license. A group day care home license is valid for three years and must be displayed in the home at all times. This license will tell you the caregiver’s name, how many children can be cared for in the home, what areas of the home can be used for child care, and whether night care can be provided.

Caregivers

The caregiver must be at least 21 years old. Only persons 18 years of age or old can transport children. A full-time assistant must be at least 18 years old. Any assistants under 18 years of age, must be directly and personally supervised by the caregiver at all times. Part-time assistants must be at least 14 years old and 5 years older than the oldest child they supervise. There may be a substitute caregiver (over the age of 21) for up to 25 hours per month and for an additional two weeks in a 12-month period.

In many personal injury cases establishing a that party is at negligent can be done generally by establishing that the party deviated from the standard of care in the community or by demonstrating that a party failed to abide by a code or ordinance applicable to the facility.  When it comes to ordinances, it is important to determine the applicability of the ordinance to the facility.

Regulation and licensing of child care is primarily the responsibility of individual States. The federal government does regulate child care, but federal law only requires that states regulate child care in three areas in order to protect the health and safety of children:

  • The prevention and control of infectious disease
  • Building and physical premise safety
  • Health and safety training appropriate to the program setting

As a result, regulations relating to the health and safety of children in out-of-home child care programs vary wildly from state to state (licensing, child to staff ratios, background checks, training, inspections, health and safety requirements, child development, parent communication and involvement). (State licensing requirements)

These discrepancies mean that some states have more stringent regulations than others do, which means that children in different states are receiving different levels of protection. It is important that the federal government implement more specific requirements for state regulation of child care, so that important issues such as comprehensive background checks are required in every state.

Age Groups

Developmental Stage Age Functional Definition
Infant 0-12 months Birth to ambulation
Toddler 13-35 months Ambulation to accomplishment of self-care routines such as use of the toilet
Pre-schooler 36-50 months From achievement of self-care routine to entry into regular school
School-Age Child 5-12 years Entry into regular school, including kindergarten through 6th grade

Illinois Laws Applicable to Child Care & Day Care Facilities

In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is in charge of setting standards and licensing child care centers, homes, group homes, and day care agencies in the state (Illinois child care Rules). In 2007, Illinois had 2,907 licensed day care centers, 10,050 licensed day care homes, and 473 group day care homes with the combined capacity to serve more than 295 thousand children. (Illinois Daycare Listings)

The Illinois Child Care Act of 1969 (225 ILCS 10) includes licensure requirements, standards, background checks, and responsibilities for child care facilities and institutions (Child Care Act Study Guide). However, the State licensing standards are minimum standards, put in place to protect your children. It stands to reason that child care centers and homes that strive to provide facilities and services that offer more than just the minimum, will also offer better environments for your children. (See “Day Care Worker Leaves Children Unattended in Gym – Situation Demonstrates the Need for More Regulation of Child Care in Alternative Settings”)

Illinois has specific licensing standards for day care homes, day care centers, and group day care homes. These rules are set forth in the Illinois Administrative Code:

Of course many provisions in the Illinois Code (and similar codes in other states) are anything but enjoyable to read– hopefully you never will.  However, it is important to realize that there are many provisions of state law that are available to you should the need arise.  Having a complete understanding the the applicable law remains an essential part of the prosecution of any injury stemming from poor care at a child care facility or institution.

Chicago day care injury lawyers working to secure your child’s future

We are Day Care Injury Lawyers in Chicago who prosecute negligent facilities in situations where a child was injured or abused while under the care of a day care center or child care provider.  We offer free consultations and never charge a fee without a recovery for injured child.