In the state of Alabama, your hairdresser must have a license to cut your hair, but the child care provider who keeps your child may not. Alabama is one of only seven states that allows some child care programs to operate without inspection or regulation. Currently in Alabama, nearly ONE-HALF of child care centers are uninspected and unregulated for basic health & safety standards (Alabama Department of Human Resources, December 2015).
The purpose of licensing and inspection is to protect young children who cannot look after themselves. Licensed child care programs receive annual inspections and submit ongoing documentation of compliance with the Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers and Nighttime Centers to ensure the children enrolled are in a safe environment with responsive teachers. Unlicensed child care centers are not required to conduct criminal background checks on staff, maintain appropriate staff-to-child ratios, or document First Aid and CPR training.
If every Alabama child care program is required to be licensed and inspected for minimum standards, we can feel more comfortable knowing our young children are in safe, healthy, and beneficial environments.