Daycare Centers will be regulated and supervised by the new law

The program widely known as the Social Crisis Plan, initiated a few years ago in conjunction with numerous GOA branches, just concluded an extensive study under the leadership of Sue Ann Ras.

The study attempted to survey Childcare Centers in Aruba, caring for kids ages 0 to 16. Of the estimated 140 Childcare centers here about 96 of them, registered with the local Foundation for our Children, were examined. Covid19 made it more difficult to reach all centers.

I know you are raising an eyebrow, asking: Are those Childcare Centers regulated and/or supervised? Must they adhere to a set of rules, for parents, kids, caretakers? Do they have emergency, and First Aid protocols?

The answer is no. Aruba has no law governing these centers and no set standards in regards to the safety, security, health, hygiene, pedagogical curriculum, early intervention for children with special needs, and personnel requirements.

There are no guidelines.

You and me can open a Daycare Center tomorrow, and enroll kids, including very young babies.

The law governing all that is supposed to go to parliament, to be ratified, February 2022.

So imagine, the second biggest group within our population, just under 21%, as reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics, attends fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants daycares.

(The report, prepared in the second quarter of 2020 surveyed 16,317 kids, ages 0 to 12, 8,384 boys, 7,933 girls, 14.3% of population, 9.3% less than a decade ago — we have less young people in Aruba, more elderly.)

Most of Aruba’s Daycare Centers are located in backyards and garages, with not enough bathrooms and with toys that are perhaps unsafe, and improvised rest areas. What are they feeding the kids? Who knows? There are no norms.

And the personnel in charge of our most precious little people, most of them do not hold the proper certifications. Do they know what to do when a child bites, or fights, is having a bad day, or acts out in a temper tantrum? Are the kids punished in those daycares, what are the disciplinary measures employed? Do they have cameras?

Are these hardworking women, who must over-exert themselves assigned to an undefined number of children, earn a decent living, or are they exploited at minimum wages.

Are they given breaks and rest, or just worked to the bone?

Are they allowed to smoke on the job, take personal phone calls?

Are they familiar with the Heimlich maneuver? What to do with an occasional bee sting?

I have a lot of questions.

Apparently, the report identified a great number of red flags and the Social Crisis Plan is determined to fix it all for the betterment of childcare on the island.

I must say, they wrote a good report, but will the new requirement force Childcare Centers to make substantial investments, in infrastructure, in turn making the fees, charged to parents, exorbitant?

Think about it. After a few weeks of maternity leave, parents are obliged to get back to work and they have to leave their newborns and older children in the hands of unknown entities, they must trust their precious babies will be well cared for, no guarantees.

Without standards, certification and/or inspection, it is a total gamble, hit or miss.

Part of the upcoming plan is also to open a course by the education foundation that will teach and certify caregivers, starting January 2022 on.

We should all be concerned. The early age is especially important for the development of our young citizens. Are they given the care they deserve? Are they hugged sufficiently, encouraged to be creative and sharing?

Aruba is a gentle island, chances are, we’re safe. But the new law will help.

Share on:

October 07, 2021
Rona Coster