The social responsibility involved in operating a child care facility extends to the physical and social/emotional health of a young child. When a parent leaves a child with a child care provider, it is with the trust that the facility is run safely and responsibly. Child care providers balance the responsibilities of running a business and making socially responsible decisions that model ethical behavior and provide a nurturing environment for children to thrive.
A deep understanding and a commitment to child development inform the operational decisions related to running a child care facility. Accrediting agencies such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children acknowledge the value of curriculum and health and safety practices based on the best practices established in the field of psychology, education and human development. Accredited child care facilities take pride in evidence-based practices -- are policies and guidelines developed through research and observation by academics and trained professionals.
Children learn from watching the behavior of their peers and caretakers. This places a special onus on those responsible for operating the child care facility to demonstrate social responsibility in official policies, enforcement of rules and boundaries, as well as in all business relationships with parents, employees and the greater community.
Child care facilities fall under mandated reporting laws as determined by the state in which they operate. Mandated reporters are bound to report any suspected abuse or neglect of a child to an appropriate agency. A report may be made anonymously, but a provider can be held responsible for not reporting signs of abuse. Many child care facilities have a policy of disclosing their status as mandated reporters during parent orientation.
Several organizations exist for the purpose of providing evaluation and accreditation for child care facilities. Most of these accrediting organizations have a code of ethics that guides the facilities in areas concerning social responsibility. Accrediting organizations include the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Association of Christian Schools International, the National Association for Family Child Care and the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs.
The core values of operating a child care facility are the same as those of any organization working with a vulnerable population. Each accrediting organization has its own standards, but there are several common themes related to human rights and social responsibility. A socially responsible facility respects the dignity of the child, looks out for the health and safety of the child, values the diversity that each child and family bring to the community and honors the wishes of the child's family so long as they do not compromise the health and safety of the child.
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