The Department of Human Services encourages public comment on Safe Sleep rules

Posted on Jan 17, 2017 in Main, News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2017

HONOLULU, HI – The Department of Human Services believes safe sleep in child care settings is a community issue and invites individuals to comment on proposed amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules. These proposed amendments will codify the department’s decade-long commitment to ensuring all licensed and registered child care providers follow safe sleep best practices. The public is invited to provide testimony in writing or in person during a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. in room 615 at the Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division at 820 Mililani St. Any interested persons unable to attend the public hearing may also submit written testimony to 820 Mililani St., Suite 606, Honolulu, HI, 96813, attn: Child Care Program Administrator by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2017.

DHS has prioritized safe sleep practices since 2005 when the department began including them as part of the child care licensing protocol. The national Safe Sleep campaign began targeting child care settings just two years prior in 2003.

“The proposed rules give voice to community advocates and reinforces our department’s commitment to mandate safe sleep practices for all child care providers. We are excited to move forward in the natural evolution of our efforts to make safe sleep a top priority: putting our protocols into administrative rules,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.

DHS licenses various child care settings, including family care homes, group child care centers and homes, before- and after-school programs, and infant and toddler child care centers. The department’s Child Care Licensing staff conduct initial, annual and biennial monitoring visits at each home and facility to ensure providers are compliant with laws, regulations and best practices. Since 2005, licensing workers have educated providers about the importance of safe sleep practices and verified their compliance.

These protocols contributed to zero child fatalities in licensed and registered child care settings in 2016.

Earlier this month, the department continued its commitment by putting into rules its existing practices. This act of codifying DHS practices responds to community concerns and reinforces that the department values safe sleep practices in all child care settings.

Community members – particularly parents and providers – are encouraged to review the proposed amendments and submit comments for our Feb. 6 hearing. Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i and Maui residents wishing to present oral testimonies via teleconference may contact their respective Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division section offices to make arrangements:

East Hawai‘i Section Administrator
1990 Kinoole Street, Suite 111
Hilo, HI (981-7288);

West Hawai‘i Section Administrator
75-5722 Hanama Place Rm 1105
Kailua-Kona, HI (327-4765);

Kaua‘i Section Administrator
Dynasty Court
4473 Pahee Street, Suite G
Līhu‘e, HI (241-3663);

Maui Section Administrator
1955 Main Street, Suite #325
Wailuku, HI (243-5875)

A copy of the public notice and the proposed amendments are available at the following address: http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/proposed-rules/.

More information about the Department of Human Services is available at humanservices.hawaii.gov.

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Media Contact:
Keopu Reelitz, Public Information Officer

Department of Human Services
Email: kreelitz@dhs.hawaii.gov
Cell Phone: 372-4704