This paper will attempt to document the differences in childcare arrangements across several different states. While parents work, individuals other than the parents care for a large majority of preschool children. This fact is true nationally and in every state examined here, so it emphasizes the importance of childcare in the lives of American families. It is vitally important for policymakers to pay close attention to the experiences of children while they are in childcare. .
The states selected for this research are West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and New York. While there are many similarities among the four states, there are also some glaring differences. In order to present the comparison information in a concise logical order, each of the assignment criteria will be arranged in a list format.
1. Licensure requirements of day care centers. All four states have requirements that must be met prior to receiving a license to operate. The building to be used has to pass inspection for size, structural integrity, fire safety, and sanitation availability. While each state has other requirements that must be met, New York has much more stringent requirements than any of the other three. In order to obtain a license to operate a childcare center in New York an operator must submit many forms. Some of which are: description of their program, evacuation plans, health care plans, sample menus, criminal background checks of all employees, a copy of the procedures to ensure child safety, a copy of the curriculum, and a plan to protect the children from poisonous plants. The state ranking for licensure requirements is as follows from best to worst: New York, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio.
2. Licensure requirements respective of day care center staff. The variations in this category vary considerably. In West Virginia, an operator need only be twenty-one years of age and have a high school diploma plus nine credit hours of college classes in childhood development or other related field.