Does it ever seem like your licensing inspector picks on you?
Do they find little things that, to you, seem like no big deal?
Are you stressed out each time they arrive at your center?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions you are not alone. However, imagine if there were no licensing inspectors, or no licensing standards for that matter. What might you be tempted to change at your center? Would you increase your child-staff ratio? Would you let your employees take naps with the children? Would you let babies share bottles with each other? The answer is probably NO to those questions. Why? Because YOU are an amazing caregiver and you are focused on quality, but not everyone is like you.
Licensing inspectors are there to help us all maintain at least minimum levels of quality and safety for the children we are caring for and the families we are serving. I keep this in mind when I see my consultant pull up to my center, and I welcome licensing inspections. In fact, crazy as it may sound, I love my inspector. WHY? To me she is like my coach, she helps me see blind spots that I may not see in my own program. Blind spots could lead to safety concerns that could lead to a serious injury or even the death of a child. Having her input helps me stay accountable to quality standards, which makes my schools more attractive to new families.
One of the biggest reasons I love my inspector is that she levels the playing field. She makes sure that everybody has to play by the same rules. For instance, I know that I have the best program in my area. I know that if my competitors have to play by the same rules that I do, I can beat them every day of the week.
It is when your competitors break the rules, and the playing field is not level, that they can undercut you on price. Imagine if the child care center down the road was adding two extra kids over ratios in each classroom. What could they do to you on price? They, most likely, would undercut you badly. Your inspector is there to keep the playing field level. They are like a referee in a football game, they exist to make sure players are safe and that everyone plays by the rules.
I have had 5 inspectors in the 20 years I have been in business, and I have loved every one of them. Were they tough? YES! Were they fair? YES! As long as I am treated the same as the center down the road, I am a happy.