IMPORTANT PUBLIC INFORMATION – KALAMAPI’I PLAY SCHOOLPosted on Oct 20, 2022 in Main
IMPORTANT PUBLIC INFORMATION – KALAMAPI’I PLAY SCHOOL
The Department of Human Services Child Care Programs and Regulations Office’s role is to ensure the health and safety of children. We work collaboratively with potential providers to ensure all health and safety licensure requirements have been met.
In cases where there are environmental hazards such as extreme lead exposure in both indoor and outdoor areas of a child care facility, we can’t allow children to remain in an unsafe environment unless we know that lead has been completely abated through certified reports.
Lead exposure has long term and severely detrimental impacts on the development of children.
We recognize that there is a nationwide shortage of child care providers and workforce, and much of what we do, especially through the pandemic, supports providers to keep their doors open.
If you have been impacted by this closure and are in need of child care services, please contact PATCH to assist in locating licensed child care providers in your area and to provide information and resources to help you make informed decisions about child care. PATCH’s website is: https://www.patchhawaii.org/.
Kalamapi’i Play School:
Since Kalamapi’i Play School submitted its application, Kalamapi’i Play School has encountered several challenges according to county building inspections and lead-based paint risk assessment reports.
There are identified lead concentrations that exceed the Hawaii Department of Health Environmental Action Levels in both indoor and outdoor areas of Kalamapi’i Play School which have not been abated.
The Hawaii Department of Health and DHS are working collaboratively to ensure that the lead has been properly and safely removed from KPS.
On August 24, 2022, a cease and desist notice was delivered by the department mandating the Director of Kalamapi’i Play School to immediately stop all child care operations at the location, requested that the Director notify the parents or guardians of the children enrolled in the program about the notice of closure, and stated that this matter will be referred to the Department of the Attorney General for legal action.
In accordance with Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) for Group Child Care Centers and Group Child Care Homes, Chapter 17-892 the department requires that any facility or site must have qualified preschool teacher staff who meet the combined early childhood education and experience working in an early childhood program requirements.
Since the August 24, 2022 notice to stop its operations and to notify the families, Kalamapi’i Play School has continued conduct child care without a license. To date, no license has been issued to this provider. Please refer to the links to documents below for more information.
DHS acknowledges the impact on the families that relied upon KPS for child care, however, the health and safety of the children remains DHS’ priority. Families affected by the KPS closure are encouraged to contact PATCH for a listing of licensed child care providers. DHS is working with PATCH to assist these families to find a qualified and licensed child care provider in the Hilo area.
DHS recognizes the importance of child care and we whole-heartedly support providers and anyone who wants to start their own child care business. We understand that there has been a child care crisis that has only been further exacerbated by the pandemic. As parents return to work, we recognize that there is not only as statewide, but a nationwide shortage of the early childhood workforce.
As the licensing entity for child care in Hawaii, we actively work with child care providers to support their staff’s requirements by providing guidance, resources and/or waivers.
However, we do not make any exceptions when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of minor children who are provided care in a group child care home or group child care center. We continue to protect the best interests of keiki by requiring basic health and safety standards that are established by statute.
A preschool teacher must meet one of the following qualifications:
- Degree in child development or early childhood education from an accredited college or university and 6 months working experience in an early childhood program; or
- Post-secondary credential in child development associate program or organized two-year (sixty credit) college program and certificate in early childhood education, plus 1-year supervised teaching experience in an early childhood program; or
- Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from an accredited college or university plus 6 months working in an early childhood program, plus 6 credits in approved child development or early childhood training courses; or
- Bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited college or university plus 6 months working in an early childhood program, plus 12 credits in approved child development or early childhood training courses.
In DHS licensed group child care centers, teachers are required to have an early childhood degree or early childhood education coursework and subsequent levels of experience in working in an early childhood program.
These requirements ensure that all staff working with young children have the necessary knowledge base and skills needed to implement developmentally appropriate practices that support young children’s learning, growth, and development.
Minimum requirements a person needs to have to be granted a teacher waiver at the preschool level:
The teacher waiver form must be completed and signed by both applicant and director with the identification of the course of action the applicant will take to achieve preschool teacher qualifications.
Written plan of action signed by both waiver applicant and director which should include details about who will be supervising the waived Aide, reviewing the lesson plans, conducting observation of the waived Aide and the frequency of how often the supervisor will meet with the waived Aide to provide feedback at least for the first 6 months of the waived period.
An assessment will be conducted by the Child Care Regulation Program Office of the number of qualified preschool teachers and assistant teachers that already exist and the number of waiver teacher applications received. In general, in order to ensure that there are existing qualified staff who have the necessary knowledge base and skills to implement developmentally appropriate practices that support young children’s learning, growth, and development, the child care facility should already have at least half of the number of qualified teachers and assistant teachers that is required in accordance with the number and age of children in one group.
The consequences of running a child care center illegally:
Operating illegal child care could result in a fine of $1000 – $3000 per day – pursuant to HRS 346-156.