Posts Tagged ‘child care’

Empower Conference

April 18th, 2013

Our Empower program is hosting its second annual conference Empowering Habits, Empowering Lives: Super Heroes in Action on May 4.  The conference is a great opportunity for providers in Early Care and Education settings to learn the new 10 Empower standards that have been established for 2013.  The conference sessions will also equip participants with the resources and tools essential to implement the 10 standards, thus transforming them into super heroes in action!  Check out the conference flyer for more details.


Evidence-Based Decision-Making: A Key Regulatory Benchmark

November 19th, 2012

The role of a surveyor can be a difficult one. Our team of licensing surveyors need to maintain neutrality as regulators and be able to apply the Arizona Administrative Code (otherwise known as “the rules”) to a wide variety of facilities within the healthcare system.  Part of our surveillance includes investigating complaints– which can be generated from an array of internal and external sources.  When the complaints come because of TV or other media coverage- it can pose unique challenges for our team.  But…  no matter where the complaint comes from, our job is to use facts and evidence to drive our investigation, decision-making, and interventions. 

There are 3 forms of evidence that we use to substantiate an allegation made in a complaint: 1) observation; 2) documentation; and 3) interviews. Two of these forms of evidence need to be present before we find that a complaint is “substantiated”.  By using these tried and true evidence-based tools we put ourselves in the best position to identify real health and safety problems without jumping to conclusions.

Focusing on facts and evidence (and not allowing one’s self to be driven by media coverage) is a good start…  but there are a few things that both surveyors and healthcare professionals can do to keep focus on providing a healthy and safe environment. Keep good records, document, sign and store up to date data, maintain consistent supervision for those that require it, follow your agency’s policies and procedures without fail, report what’s required, be proactive (not reactive), and seek out ongoing education in your field.  Don’t cut corners when it comes to care… and don’t be afraid to admit a mistake or that you do not have all the answers. 

So, if you happen to hear or see a TV story about a facility, keep in perspective that the story might focus on anecdotes and what the reporter thinks they know or even just their opinion- not necessarily what the evidence demonstrates.  In a time when information is disseminated second by second rather than day by day, let’s remember that we all share the same goal, to promote Health and Wellness for all Arizonans, which includes providing surveyors, community, clients and staff accurate and factual information.

Curious about the real scoop on how all of our licensed facilities are doing?  Check out our AZ Care Check website which has the details about our evidence-based investigations and surveys.

First Lady Recognizes Empower

May 23rd, 2012

The First Lady’s Let’s Move! Child Care initiative recognized our Empower program for exceptional work to promote young children’s health and prevent childhood obesity in the early care and education setting last week.  We were selected for recognition for carrying out exceptional work to promote and implement the goals of Let’s Move! Child Care, including using creative strategies, engaging families in obesity prevention efforts, and overcoming challenges to get children moving and encourage healthy eating in the early care and education setting. We were one of three honorees selected for recognition in the State Honoree category.  

In a signed letter from the First Lady, Mrs. Obama thanked ADHS “for the work done each day to help our Nation’s children grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.”  For more information about the Empower program visit:


Interim AD for Licensing

May 10th, 2012

 Colby Bower will serve as our Interim Assistant Director for Licensing while we recruit and hire a permanent Assistant Director.  Colby has been serving as our Legislative Affairs chief for the last couple of years.

Colby fills several of the criteria that we needed for the interim post: 1) He’s a good risk manager and has a good understanding of the importance of Stakeholder relations; 2) He understands the matrix of our statutes and rules- and knows that we need to exercise our authority through the prism of public health; 3) He’s good with people; and 4) Now that the legislative session is over- he’ll have the time needed to invest in the program.  Our Operations folks are busy doing all of the IT, finance and legal things to get Colby the authority and tools he’ll need in his post.

We’ve already announced our recruitment for a permanent Assistant Director.  I blogged about the recruitment yesterday, including a hot link to the job announcement on ADOA’s website.  Our goal is to complete the recruitment process and hire a permanent AD this summer.


Join me in welcoming and thanking Colby for his willing to fill this important post while we go through the full recruiting process!

ADHS Looking for a Forward-thinking Assistant Director

May 8th, 2012

Promoting Health and Wellness for all Arizonans” is the motto of the Arizona Department of Health Services.  We promote and protect the health of Arizona’s children and adults and set the standard for personal and community health through direct care, science, public policy and leadership.  Want a piece of the action? 

We’re looking for an experienced and proactive leader to become our new Assistant Director for Licensing Services. This key position reports directly to me and manages six different state and federal licensing units including Long Term Care, Medical Facilities, Child Care, Assisted Living, Behavioral Health, and Special Licensing.  The job oversees about 200 employees and a budget of $17M.  But- what makes the job exciting is that you’ll have a unique opportunity to lead a dynamic team and use your talents and skills to make Arizona a healthier place- “Promoting Health and Wellness for All Arizonans”.

Empower Program Gets National Recognition

April 6th, 2012

Our Physical Activity and Nutrition and Child Care Licensing programs were selected for a national award from  Let’s Move!- Child Care for our outstanding work to promote young children’s health and prevent childhood obesity through the Empower program and our training videos.  Our work will be showcased at the May 9 Let’s Move! Child Care Recognition Luncheon in DC.  The award was announced late this afternoon- so I don’t have any more details- but I’ll share more when it comes in.

Child Care Readiness

October 12th, 2011

Ever since 911, there’s been an increased understanding that a strong disaster emergency and evacuation plan is required for any line of business.  Child care is no exception.  Over the last few months, our Child Care Licensing shop took the lead to develop and provide information and training to Arizona child care providers in effective short- and long-term emergency and disaster preparation related to individual facilities within the overall community.  They began their effort by researching and assessing recommendations and best practices nationally.  The areas being targeted as standards include:   

  • A plan for evacuating children in child care:  Developing and maintaining a written emergency plan (policies & procedures that prepare, train and require practice) that ensures health, safety and welfare (shelter in place, lock down and shelter outhost facility), including maintaining (specific) information which will protect children and staff during emergencies.
  • A plan reunifying children and their families after a disaster:  Developing and implementing plans, procedures and back-up plans that includes ways to globally communicate with children and staff’s families and community agencies before, during and after an emergency. 
  • A plan with a focus on children and staff that may have special needs or chronic medical issues and requirements such as transportation, food, etc. before, during and after an emergency.
  • A plan of action for recovery; protection of information and assets to allow for a continuum of care for children and families. 

Our Division of Licensing’s “Emergency Preparedness” web page includes links to existing statewide emergency communication sites, existing pages containing guidance and information for basic emergency preparedness, and to a new web page containing documents, resources and links to disaster and emergency preparation and training specific to the types of facilities licensed by the Department.

Turning the Key on New Child Care Home Rules

October 5th, 2011

We turned the key last week on our new rules for child care homes (child care homes provide “pay” child care between 5 and 10 kids).  The new rules officially went into effect on September 30.  We crafted the new rules to go hand in hand with SB 1315, which outlines the standards for child care homes. The new rules eliminate our former obsolete, unnecessary, and duplicative requirements.  We simplified the application process and also reduced insurance requirements.  We also updated training needs for staff to prepare food, formula, and breast milk.  The new rules allow operators to use prescription meds to treat life-threatening conditions (like asthma).  The new rules are simpler for everyone to use, easier for providers to comply with, while improving the health and safety of kids cared for in certified child care homes.  Here’s a newly developed checklist on our revamped child care licensing website to help folks figure out the newly streamlined rules.  We’ll also be conducting training events to help operators.

This final rulemaking rounds out our yearlong effort to streamline our rules for all child care facilities.  Last year we updated the regulations for child care centers (places that care for 11 or more kids).  These rule revisions were a true collaborative effort among folks from all over the agency- and folks from the community and regulated facilities.  Nice work!

Let’s Get Kids Off to a Healthy Start

July 19th, 2011

We know from research that the first five years of a child’s life are incredibly important. The brain is still being formed, and we have the chance to impact a kid’s whole life by building a strong foundation.  One of the best places for public health to get involved is through child care. At ADHS, the Office of Child Care Licensing and Public Health Prevention partnered to springboard Empower.  This educational incentive encouraged physical activity and nutrition while helping programs with licensing fees.  First Things First has also been working to improve care at child care centers. 

 In 2009, First Things First launched Quality First – the first statewide voluntary quality improvement and rating system for some programs serving children from birth through five. The idea is to have kids ready to begin school safe, healthy, and ready to succeed.  Last month, they moved the program to the next level- approving the Quality First Star Rating System.  The new Quality First Rating Scale will let parents easily know how a program ranks by the number of stars.  For example if a program is a “1 Star” – it demonstrates a commitment to quality beyond licensing requirements- while a “5 Star” has more teachers per student that our licensing requirements, more highly qualified staff and curriculum that aligns with state early education standards.  Quality First also has financial incentives for programs to participate and there are scholarships for workers to continue their education and grants or bonuses to help pay for licensing fees.

New Child Care Website

June 29th, 2011

Our cross-cutting team from Childcare Licensure and IT have been overhauling the Childcare Licensing Website over the last few weeks- and the new site went live this week.  We’re very excited about the changes.  After the “face lift” it got 18 months ago, I didn’t know what to expect next – which is just as well, because any expectations would have been exceeded anyway!  Thanks to the suggestions, support and cooperative efforts of our childcare staff, the Webmaster Office and Web Improvement Team,  Our website not only has a new look but a new, improved functionality.  The new site improves access to information for child care providers and families and increases the website’s flexibility.  The new site has easy to access Provider Information; Training including videos; Parent & Community Info; an Online Complaint Form.  Well done.