Several Minnesota counties are experiencing a measles outbreak. As a licensed family child care provider, you must follow licensing requirements relating to child immunization records. Please read the following documents that pertain to the outbreak and immunization laws, and follow the instructions contained in the message to licensed providers.
The purpose of this Alert is to highlight areas where the Division of Licensing has seen injury or harm to children and to offer suggestions on prevention. The suggestions do not replace rule and statute requirements. Please review this information (PDF) and take precautions, including improving current procedures, orientation, and training.
Implementing these suggestions does not mitigate the license holder’s responsibility to ensure compliance with licensing rules and statutes. If an incident occurs, failure to address the topics in this Alert may contribute to findings of maltreatment under the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556). Findings of maltreatment at a center may result in the disqualification of one or more individuals and fines against the license holder.
Centers must use the fillable form Child Care Center Serious Injury and Death Reporting Form (PDF) (also in Word) to report any serious injury or death of a child in care.
The PDF version (when opened in Internet Explorer) is the preferred version for centers to use since it will automatically create an email and attach the completed form once the submit button is clicked. If you are unable to open in Internet Explorer or you need to use the Word DOC version, you will have to manually attach the completed form to the email before sending.
A serious injury is an injury that requires treatment by a physician or dentist. This means that if a child sees a physician or dentist for evaluation of an injury, but no treatment is given, the injury does not meet the definition of serious and does not need to be reported to DHS. Treatment does not include application of or recommendation to use nonprescription medication or diagnostic testing (such as x-rays).
For additional information on other child care center reporting requirements, please see Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0130. The Child Care Center Serious Injury & Death Reporting Form is to be used for reporting serious injuries and deaths only. Other types of information required to be reported to DHS under 9503.0130 can be done by submitting your center-specific form by email or fax, by calling the center’s assigned licensor or by calling the main Licensing Division number at 651-431-6500.
A total of $1.5 million in grants and donations will help increase quality child care in Greater Minnesota, which has the state’s most acute child care shortages. New grants totaling $900,000 from the Department of Human Services will be combined with nearly $600,000 in private and community donations. More information is a news release.
The Department of Human Services (DHS), Licensing Division is pleased to announce that we have completed Annual Certification Reviews for a pilot group consisting of 18 certified centers. The goal of the pilot was to practice conducting annual reviews with a small group of centers to be able to assess the process and functions of our systems and to learn how to best prepare all certified centers for annual reviews.
As a result of our pilot, we would like to share information with all center operators about how to prepare for an annual review, what to expect during the annual review, and share some key takeaways from the pilot.
Annual Review Process
Certified centers will have an inspection each calendar year to determine compliance with standards in 245H. Annual reviews will be announced and coordinated between center operators and DHS. The review process will begin with a phone call to the center operator from a DHS licensor to verify and gather information useful to scheduling the onsite visit such as:
Following the phone call, the licensor will send an email requesting staffing information and schedule the visit(s).
In 2019, for certified centers who onboarded into certification in 2018, licensors will provide center operators documentation showing the results of the first monitoring review. This report will not be a correction order and will not be posted on the public Licensing Information Lookup website. Additionally, after the visit(s), licensors will schedule an exit interview with the center operator to provide technical assistance and discuss findings.
Preparing for your Review
Licensors will be using an electronic checklist during annual reviews to monitor compliance with the requirements found in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245H. We have posted a copy of the information from that checklist on our Certified Child Care Centers webpage. It is recommended that site directors review the items on the checklist in preparing for our visit.
Records can be reviewed at a central location or at each individual site. The licensor will coordinate with center operators prior to the visit to arrange the review of staff records.
In preparing documentation, be aware that licensors will be looking for both training and staff file information.
If substitutes are used, they should be included in your list of staff and documentation of their required trainings should be kept in the personnel records.
Helpful Tips and Hints
A couple suggestions that came from the pilot participants:
Mandated reporting suggestions:
Clarifications and Helpful Information
Calendar year vs. school year
245H calls for specific documents to be reviewed each year and trainings to be completed each year. We learned in the pilot that there could be confusion in the interpretation of “year” for programs who operate during the school year. For the purposes of certification, each year means each calendar year and not each school year.
Centers are also required to conduct, at least quarterly, one evacuation drill and one shelter-in-place drill. We will implement the quarterly system to be seasonal quarters. Fall, winter, spring, and summer quarter will be as follows:
As a result of the pilot feedback, we are working on creating an optional form that centers can use to track these drills. Centers can use their own documentation system as well. During annual reviews, licensors will look for documentation of one evacuation drill (such as a fire drill) and one shelter-in-place drill (such as a tornado drill) conducted quarterly. Drills need to be conducted during the center’s hours of operation and documentation of the drills needs to include the date and time the drill occurred.
Posting of contagious illness
In 245H.13, it states that centers “must post or give notice to the parent or legal guardian of an exposed child the same day the program is notified of a child's contagious reportable disease.” It was brought to our attention that this is difficult for some centers due to it being in conflict with district directions/requirements. Until there is a law change, licensors will monitor for compliance with this requirement.
Immunization reports access
In 245H.13, it states “by a child's date of attendance, the certified center must maintain or have access to a record detailing the child's current immunizations or applicable exemption.” Licensors will monitor for compliance with this requirement by checking immunization records for a random sample of children in attendance. This will be a small sample, but we will need to see the actual immunization record for a sample of children which will demonstrate a center’s overall compliance. We will not be evaluating the immunization records for accuracy regarding the immunization information, but rather simply verifying that there is a record for each child in the sample.
245H.13, subdivision 4 contains information on requirements for preventing and responding to allergies. If a child has a known allergy the center must:
245H.13 states that the center must document administration of medication that includes the “name and signature of the person who administered the medicine.” We will accept name and initials, but the form cannot have initials only. If there is only space on the form for initials, there needs to be a key that indicates the name associated with the initials.
Make sure you are disposing of or returning any expired medication or medication for a child who is no longer in attendance.
DHS is preparing to implement the enhanced background studies that will impact all licensed child care programs starting this fall. This also impacts all certified licensed-exempt centers. (Non-licensed providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are also impacted by these changes.) These new enhanced background studies are required by changes in federal law. For more information on the new study requirements, go to Minnesota child care provider background studies.
The federal Office of Child Care has informed states that they are able to use certain child care block grant funds to help providers pay for the new enhanced background studies.
Accordingly, DHS will pay for the cost of the new background studies for existing providers and their staff/family members who already have a current background study when the new enhanced studies are rolled out. (Non-licensed providers participating in CCAP will also have their costs covered and will receive a separate letter from DHS.)
All certified centers will have an inspection each year to determine compliance with standards in 245H. Annual reviews will be announced and coordinated between the center operators and DHS. As you prepare for your certification review, please look at our Certification checklist which contains the items we will be looking for on a review.