The Senate passed on third reading the bill that proposes to regulate child care centers in Palau.
Senate Bill No. 10-30, SD1 otherwise known as “to regulate child care centers” states in its legislative findings that all child care centers here should meet standardized requirements in order to offer safe and healthy services for the children of Palau.
If passed into a law, licensed child care centers will be required to maintain a minimum ratio of 1:3 (personnel to child) for both toddlers at least 12 months to 36 months old and Preschoolers who are 36 months old up to those who are going to enroll to kindergarten.
The bill also stipulates that compliance with this required ratio shall be determined based on actual attendance.
It also restricts employees hired by the child care centers for clerical, housekeeping and maintenance functions to be counted in as part of the personnel who will watch over the children, adding that personnel who are tasked to watch over the children shall not also perform other tasks such as housekeeping and maintenance duties that prevent them from performing duties related to providing care and supervision to children.
Apart from these, the bill also prohibits smoking of tobacco, chewing of bettlenut and the drinking of alcohol within the daycare centers’ premises.
The bill also includes sections that ensure child health will be overseen by the daycare centers.
It also prohibits any firm or person from operating, establishing, managing, conducting, or maintaining a child care center without license from the MOH, unless they fall on the list of exemptions as proposed by the bill. Those who will be found violating this will be issued a “Notice of Operation in Violation of Law and a civil fine of $200 per day.
Under the bill, child care centers are required to renew their licenses annually.
If the bill becomes a law, child care centers that are already operating in Palau will be given a period of 12 months to adjust and comply with the new provisions. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter) [/restrict]